The Rays (9-10) left Tampa Bay with a 6-1 home stand and a new outlook on the season. Having started the season almost as bad as one team can, the Rays have clawed their way back into contention, now sitting 2.5 games behind the division-leading New York Yankes (10-6).
The impending road trip could be a difficult one, however, as the Rays must square off against a strong Toronto Blue Jays team (8-10) and their formidable pitching staff. In the first game of the season series, the Rays will take on Jo-Jo Reyes (0-2, 6.75 ERA, 4.21 FIP), a former Atlanta Braves pitcher who will be making his fourth start of the season.
Reyes has never been a dominant pitcher at the major league level, but is a soft-throwing lefty -- the very kind of pitcher known to give the patient Rays hitters fits. If the Rays how to take the opener, they will need to fight off the strikeout and take some of the walks Reyes has been freely distributing so far in 2011.
Young Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.50 ERA, 4.40 FIP) takes the bump for the Rays, looking to build on his early season success. Hellickson, a crafty right-hander, will have a significant challenge facing a Jays team -- typically known for its home run power -- that has done an outstanding job early in the season at producing walks.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET, with the game being broadcast on Sun Sports HD (television) and WDAE 620 (radio).