Rays-Blue Jays Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 13, 2012
If his recent starts are any indication, Brandon Morrow could be on his way to making the jump to top-flight starting pitcher this season. The Tampa Bay Rays didn't appear very impressed with the right-hander last month. Morrow looks to win a career-high fifth consecutive start and exact a measure of revenge against the Rays in the opener of a two-game series Monday night at Rogers Centre. Part of a very young Toronto rotation, Morrow (4-1, 2.27 ERA) has been the team's most reliable starter this season and has been downright dominant lately. He's 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his last four starts, striking out 30 and walking five. After throwing a three-hitter with eight strikeouts in a 5-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on May 3, Morrow fanned a season-high 10 in six innings and overcame four walks - half his previous season total - en route to a 5-2 victory at Oakland on Wednesday. He had gone 23 2-3 innings without allowing a run before giving up an RBI single in the fifth. "I wasn't as sharp as I have been. I walked too many guys and it hurt me in the fifth," Morrow said. "I didn't have a good slider today and that probably affected things. My stuff was still good." The righty did not have good stuff when he faced Tampa Bay (21-14) on April 18. He allowed season highs of six runs and eight hits over six innings and matched a career high by giving up three homers in a 12-2 loss at Rogers Centre. That outcome was surprising because Morrow had been 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA in his previous six starts against the Rays. Toronto (19-16) settled for a split of a 10-game trip following a 4-3 loss to Minnesota on Sunday, scoring three times in the eighth before Brett Lawrie grounded out with the tying run on third. "We played pretty solid baseball all the way around,'' manager John Farrell said. "You'd like to come back 6-4, but I'm not going to take away anything from anybody. We're playing competitive baseball. We're bringing it every day and we got to go home and get things going.'' The Blue Jays have won four of five at home and scored 33 runs in those victories. Tampa Bay won Sunday for only the second time in eight games, holding on for a 9-8 victory at Baltimore to avoid a three-game sweep. Elliot Johnson and Ben Zobrist homered and Carlos Pena had two doubles and two RBIs to help the Rays improve to 2-4 on an eight-game trip. "We never like getting swept,'' said James Shields, who improved to 6-1. "It's a big win.'' Pena's contributions came after he went 3 for 37 with 14 strikeouts to begin May. He's 4 for 26 his last eight games versus Toronto and is hitless in nine career at-bats against Morrow. Jeff Niemann (2-3, 3.48) looks to build on his best start of the season for Tampa Bay. After allowing three earned runs or fewer in each of his first five starts but never making it through six innings, the right-hander limited the Yankees to one run and six hits over seven with one walk and five strikeouts Wednesday. Niemann wasn't sharp at Toronto on April 17, yielding five runs - two earned - and three hits over five innings in a 7-3 loss. He's 4-4 with a 5.11 ERA in 12 starts against the Blue Jays. Adam Lind is 13 for 28 (.464) with three homers against Niemann but Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson are a combined 3 for 32.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Was firing Jeff Hornacek the wrong move for the Suns?

Panthers picked wrong day to play worst game of the season

Was Peyton Manning paid for Budweiser mentions?

Cam Newton walks out of postgame press conference

Eli did not look thrilled after Peyton locked up Super Bowl

Rick Reilly sends awkward tweet during Super Bowl 50

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Peyton Manning gives Papa John a kiss after game

Panthers' Josh Norman crying after losing Super Bowl

Peyton Manning ‘going to drink a lot of Budweiser’ after win

Where Peyton Manning ranks among Super Bowl era QBs

Peyton Manning declines to comment on possible retirement

Mike Carey not heard from again after being wrong earlier

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Aqib Talib wipes out on NFL Network

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Five biggest boneheaded plays of Super Bowl 50

WATCH: Cam Newton gives questionable effort to recover fumble

Lions say Calvin Johnson's future still not determined

How Louisville basketball bungled their self-imposed ban

Ted Ginn Jr. whiffs on football twice on one play, results in Panthers turnover

Kony Ealy makes one-handed interception of Peyton Manning

Mike Carey gets another call wrong on incomplete pass in SB

Steph Curry beats Panthers' "Keep Pounding" drum

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

WATCH: Panthers' Jonathan Stewart leaps over pile for TD

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Did Beyonce almost fall down during Super Bowl halftime show?

Curry to serve as drummer for Panthers

Report: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker