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News » Rays-Blue Jays Preview 2008-07-29

Rays-Blue Jays Preview 2008-07-29

Rays-Blue Jays Preview 2008-07-29
Roy Halladay might be having the best season of a highly impressive career that includes a Cy Young award and five All-Star appearances with the Toronto Blue Jays.

So far in 2008, though, he hasn't been able to solve the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays hope for a better result from their ace on Tuesday in his third start against the visiting Rays, who are clinging to a one-game lead atop the AL East.

Halladay (12-7, 2.82 ERA) is 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA against the Rays (61-44) this season, and 12-5 with a 2.48 ERA against the rest of the majors. He pitched one of his major league-leading seven complete games against Tampa Bay on April 23, but yielded five runs - four in the sixth - over eight innings in a 5-3 loss.

The sixth inning again was Halladay's undoing against the Rays on July 19. He allowed all five of his runs in that frame, capped by an Evan Longoria grand slam, as Toronto (54-52) lost 6-4.

"It comes down to one pitch, and it really changes the game," Halladay told the Blue Jays' official Web site. "That's tough, any time you make a mistake like that and it costs you four runs."

Longoria, one of the AL's leading Rookie of the Year candidates, has driven in six runs off Halladay in seven at-bats this season.

Halladay will square off against Matt Garza (8-6, 3.83) for the second time in 10 days. Garza pitched one of the best games of his career in that outing, shutting out the Blue Jays on two hits over 7 2-3 innings.

"I was just trying to match (Halladay) out for out," Garza told Tampa Bay's official Web site. "That guy's having a Cy Young season."

That game was at Tropicana Field, where Garza is 6-1 with a 2.10 ERA. It's been a different story for the 24-year-old right-hander on the road, however, where he's 2-5 with a 6.04 ERA.

He's 0-2 with a 9.90 ERA in his last two starts away from home, which included giving up four runs, eight hits and four walks over five innings in a 4-2 loss at Kansas City on Thursday.

Aside from the rough outing at Tampa Bay, Halladay has been nearly untouchable recently. He's 4-0 with a 0.84 ERA in his other four starts since June 30, including a seven-inning, one-run effort in a 7-1 Blue Jays win at Baltimore on Thursday.

Pitching dominated Monday's series opener, as Toronto's A.J. Burnett outpitched the Rays' James Shields in the Blue Jays' 3-1 victory.

Toronto is 7 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay for the AL East lead.

"We've got a good thing going here," Burnett said. "It's a big series for us right now. The way we're playing, we don't think we're out of it. Let's make a run at this thing."

The Blue Jays have won six of seven to move two games above .500, and they've been riding the hot bat of Adam Lind, who is 13-for-27 (.481) during a six-game hitting streak. The left fielder is batting .360 with five homers and 22 RBIs since he was called up from Triple-A on June 21.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: July 29, 2008

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