Major League Baseball
Tampa Bay at Toronto
When: 7:07 PM ET, Friday, April 28, 2017
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario

The Tampa Bay Rays have had a tough time holding on to leads lately and hope to turn around their fortunes when they visit the struggling Toronto Blue Jays on Friday for the opener of their three-game series. The Rays have been ahead in each loss during a 1-3 stretch - including Wednesday's setback at Baltimore in which they battled back from a three-run deficit to move in front in the 11th inning, only to give up two runs in the bottom of the frame.

“We have to win those games like that, especially on the road in the division,” Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria told reporters. “We’ve got to be able to close that one out somehow.” The Rays look to grab the lead again when Blake Snell takes the mound in search of his first victory while Toronto counters with Marcus Stroman. The Blue Jays return home after dropping both ends of a doubleheader at St. Louis on Thursday, with closer Roberto Osuna suffering his third blown save in four opportunities in the opener. Toronto owns the worst record in the major leagues (6-16), winning only two of its nine home games, and lost three of four at Tampa Bay earlier this month.

TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), Sportsnet One (Toronto)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rays LH Blake Snell (0-2, 3.38 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (2-2, 3.10)

Snell worked only five innings in a no-decision against Houston last time out, matching his career high with five walks. The 24-year-old, who is limiting opponents to a .192 batting average, was victimized by Kendrys Morales' grand slam in a loss to the Blue Jays on April 6, when he worked a season-high 6 2/3 frames. Devon Travis is 3-for-4 versus Snell, who is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA in three career starts against Toronto.

Stroman recorded his second complete game of the season on Sunday, allowing two runs - one earned - and seven hits in a victory over the Los Angeles Angels. The Duke product, who has recorded 18 strikeouts and five walks in 29 innings, also went the distance in a setback against Milwaukee on April 12. Longoria is 9-for-24 with a pair of homers against Stroman, who defeated Snell and the Rays on April 6 by holding them to one run and six hits in 6 1/3 frames.


1. Tampa Bay INF Tim Beckham is 11-for-27 with two homers and five RBIs over the last seven games, raising his average from .208 to .280.

2. Toronto RHP Aaron Sanchez (blister) is scheduled to throw a side session on Friday and could start the series finale.

3. Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier is 0-for-17 over his last five games but batted .338 with 12 RBIs versus Toronto last year.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Rays 3
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Tampa Bay 11-12 L1 9-4 2-8 7-10 3-0 1-2 0-0
Toronto 6-15 L1 2-7 4-8 3-10 0-0 2-2 1-3
Last Meeting
Tampa Bay Toronto
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/9/17 TOR 2 TB 7 .281 3 1.003 .103 1 .437
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay S. Souza Jr. .500 7 1.540
Toronto J. Donaldson .286 4 1.197
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay E. Longoria 1 4 2
Toronto J. Donaldson 2 5 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.55 .277 31
Toronto 5.55 .179 38
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Tampa Bay S. Souza Jr. .330 29 .961
Toronto K. Pillar .299 26 .820
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Tampa Bay C. Dickerson 5 11 9
Toronto R. Martin 3 11 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Tampa Bay 3.69 .251 157
Toronto 4.19 .224 180