Gustavo Chacin has been dominating after missing more than two months of the season.
Chacin (8-3, 4.84), looking for his third straight win, was sidelined from June 9-Aug. 23 with an elbow injury. He returned against Al West-leading Oakland and lasted just 1 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits in a 6-0 loss.
But in three starts since then, he’s gone 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA. Chacin allowed one run and six hits in seven innings on Sept. 9 in a 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
“In about a year and a half in the big leagues, he’s got 22 wins. That ain’t bad,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He’s got a chance to get to get 10 wins under his belt this year, which would be a heck of an accomplishment for him after missing a couple of months.
It’s all about location for him—keeping the ball down and throwing strikes.”
Chacin is 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against the Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay (57-91), losers of six straight, will hand the ball to Brian Stokes (0-0, 9.45), who is making just his second career start.
The right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in four innings Tampa Bay’s 7-6 win over Seattle on Sept. 3. He struggled in a relief appearance against the New York Yankees on Tuesday when he allowed five runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings of a 12-4 loss.
“(He needs to show) better command in the zone,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “(He needs to have) better utilization of the breaking ball. I mean, there’s something about him I really like. He’s got a good look about him. He’s got some tenacity about him, which I like. But I think fastball strikes and breaking-ball command are going to get him over the hump.”
Stokes has never faced the Blue Jays, whose only series sweep this season came June 27-29 against Washington.
After needing 10 innings to pull out a 5-4 win on Friday, Toronto breezed to a 6-1 win on Saturday following a solid afternoon by starter Ted Lilly, who allowed one run and six hits in six innings to win his fourth straight decision.
“The sound of the ball hitting him, it sounded awful,” said Lind, who ended up on second base.
Jackson walked to the dugout on his own and after the game said he was fine.
“It’s nothing. It feels like I got punched in the back of the head,” Jackson said.