Toronto Blue Jays vs. Tampa Bay Rays: Series preview

Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Blue Jays
Bo Bichette #11 of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

1) Get on base.

The Blue Jays have struggled mightily this season to get on base. In fact they’re 28th in the league in on base percentage (.293) heading into the Rays’ series, ahead of only the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Toronto will have to string some hits together and take their walks if they want to be successful. This team does have decent power, as was evident by their seven home run outburst on Wednesday night against the Miami Marlins. Obviously home runs with runners on base are a lot more valuable than solo shots though.

2) Starters must go deep into ball games.

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Toronto’s pitching hasn’t been too much of an issue this season. They’re 10th in the league in ERA (4.03) going into Friday night, but could benefit from the starters eating up some innings this weekend.

That may not be possible for Anderson as he still gets built back up from his injury. However, hopefully Roark and Shoemaker can reduce the stress on the bullpen, as the Jays gear up for a long stretch of games with no scheduled off-days.

3) High baseball IQ.

One of the big issues with the Jays this season has been making avoidable mistakes in big situations. The latest proof of that came on Wednesday night.

The Marlins laid down a sac bunt in extra innings with a runner on second base and there was some confusion amongst the infield on who was going to field the ball. The result was both runners ended up being safe, and the Marlins went on to score three runs in the inning and win the game.

This is a young team, so of course you’re going to see examples of this from time to time. If Toronto can cut down on these mistakes though, it’s going to lead to a lot more opportunities to win games.

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Can the Jays put an end to Tampa’s win streak this weekend? Who are you most excited to watch? What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments below.