Dickey vs. Smyly in Game 2 at The Trop

UP NEXT
Blue Jays at Rays
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. Blue Jays RHP Marcus Stroman (4-0, 1.67) vs. Tampa Bay Rays RHP Chris Archer (12-13, 3.23).

Monday, 7:10 p.m. Blue Jays RHP R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91) vs. Tampa Bay Rays LHP Drew Smyly (5-2, 3.11).

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez (7-6, 3.22) vs. Tampa Bay Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (9-9, 3.35).

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (11-8, 3.61) vs. Tampa Bay Rays LHP Matt Moore (3-4, 5.43). 

TOR at TB
.269 AVG .252
2nd RANK 7th
232 HRs 167
88 STEALS 87
3.80 ERA 3.74
5th RANK 4th
6.98 K/9 8.39

THE GOOD
Kevin Kiemaier, will no doubt be battling a Kevin Pillar in a 1-on-1 ‘can-you-top-this?’ match up of centre fielders. A gold glove winner last year Kiemaier hit .317 this spring with a double, two triples, a homer and six RBIs.

OF Brandon Guyer led the Rays with a 1.241 OPS in nine games, batting .440 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs.

Former Baltimore Oriole Steve Pearce, once turned down the chance to join the Jays to stay at Camden Yards, will likely be in the lineup against lefty J.A. Happ. He hit .400 with a double and a home this spring.

THE BAD
3B Evan Longoria batted .243 (9-for-37) in 15 games with a double, two homers and four RBIs.      .

OF-DH Corey Dickerson batted .191 (9-for-47) with a double, triple, homer and four RBIs this spring.

1B James Loney batted .265 (9-for-34) with three doubles and an RBI and was released. Logan Morrison and Pearce will share first base.

ELLIOTT’S TAKE: 
Opening day features a match-up of aces, yet Stroman is 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts (small sample size, but that is mostly the numbers we have on Stroman) walking four and striking out 10 in 11 innings. Arches is 5-3 with a 3.26 ERA against the Jays lifetime. The knuckleballer walked 28 and fanned 85 in 91 innings in 15 innings. Archer is coming off a 2015 all-star season in which he fanned 252. The blemish is he was 3-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 18 starts at the Trop last year.

Dickey is 7-8 with a 4.20 ERA in 22 games against the Rays, making 18 starts, walking 46 and fanning 95 in 126 1/3 innings. Smyly is 1-0 with a 1.10 ERA in five appearances making two starts as he has not walked a man and fanned 11 in 16 1/3 innings. Since being acquired from the Detroit Tigers for David Price July 31, 2014, he has gone 8-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 19 starts.

Sanchez is 0-1 with a 1.88 in nine games making one start, walking four and fanning 12 in 14 1/3 innings. Odorizzi is 2-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six starts walking four and striking out 18 in 19 2/3 innings. No less than 15 times did he work at least seven innings, with a 2.79 ERA at home last year.

Happ owns a 2-2 mark with a 4.50 ERA in nine games, starting all but one as he walked 10 and fanned 39 in 44 innings. Moore, is in his first full year coming off Tommy John surgery, is 5-2 with a 3.04 ERA in nine starts, walking 31 and whiffing 46 in 47 1/3 innings.  

PREDICTION: 
Tropicana Field has been known as the House of Horrors under the John Gibbons administration. The Jays won six of nine in St. Pete’s last year, yet The Trop is where Roberto Osuna blew a save in Game 161 to fall out of over-all first place in Game 161 and where Ryan Goins and Edwin Encarnacion had first inning errors as Mark Buerhle was trying to reach 200 innings. The lefty fell four outs short.

The Rays starters have an edge in each match up, save for Game 3.

It’s early so starters won’t be going deep into games, the Jays should be happy to come out of the House of Horrors with a split.