The Toronto Blue Jays aren’t having any trouble scoring runs so far this season.
The Blue Jays look to stay hot at the plate as they try for a series win in the finale of their three-game set with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
The Blue Jays (2-2) have scored at least five runs in each of their first four games and at least eight in both of their wins. They beat the Devil Rays 8-5 on Saturday, bouncing back from back-to-back defeats.
Designated hitter Frank Thomas, signed as a free agent in November, has added a spark to the offense. The 38-year-old slugger has hit safely in each of Toronto’s first four games and hit a towering grand slam on Saturday.
The blast was his first homer of the season—and 488th of his career.
“When I get to 500, I’ll be happy—extremely happy,” said Thomas, who added he’d like to reach 600 before his career ends. “But I’ve got my focus somewhere else. I don’t want to get caught trying to just get to 500 because that can be a long, long chase. I’m not going to put pressure on myself.”
Vernon Wells, Troy Glaus and Reed Johnson also drove in runs for the Blue Jays. Glaus, though, left the game in the fifth inning with pain in his left heel and manager John Gibbons said he wasn’t sure whether the third baseman would be in the lineup Sunday.
Rocco Baldelli, who has been bothered by a sore right hamstring, started in center field in his third game. Baldelli, who went 0-for-5 and is hitting just .077 (1-for-13), was the designated hitter in his first two games.
Tampa Bay has also scored at least five runs in each of its first four games, but has been outscored 28-23. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, have outscored opponents 27-24.
Toronto ace Roy Halladay (0-0, 3.00 ERA) will look to keep the Devil Rays’ offense in check in the finale. He was originally scheduled to pitch Friday, but was pushed back after Thursday’s game in Detroit was postponed due to inclement weather.
Halladay made his fifth straight opening-day start on Monday, allowing three runs in six innings of the Blue Jays’ 10-inning, 5-3 win over the Tigers.
“The first time out, you always have little things come up that you have to fight through,” he said. “I didn’t throw my changeup as much as I wanted, and I was getting the ball up too much. When I’m throwing well, I’m ahead of the hitters, and I’m getting groundballs. I wasn’t doing that late in the game.”
Halladay went 4-1 with a 2.57 ERA in six starts against the Devil Rays last season, and won all three of his starts at Tropicana Field, posting a 1.88 ERA there. He is 8-4 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 career appearances, including 18 starts, against the Devil Rays.
Tampa Bay will counter with Scott Kazmir (0-0, 9.00), who gave up five runs in six innings of an opening-day, 9-5 loss at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Kazmir was also moved back one day after Wednesday’s game against New York was postponed because of rain.
Kazmir, who was shut down in August last season because of soreness in his pitching shoulder, went 1-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays in 2006. He is 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA in eight lifetime starts against them.
Kazmir, who is making his season debut at Tropicana, went 5-2 with a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts at home last season, but was 5-6 with a 4.67 ERA in 13 starts on the road.