Toronto (55-59) at Tampa Bay (61-54)

Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:08 pm EDT Sat Aug 15, 2009
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Rays are trying anything to help them end their current losing streak.

The Rays look to avoid a season-high sixth straight loss when they continue their home series with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday night.

Tampa Bay (61-54) matched a season high by dropping its fifth in a row in a 5-2 loss in Friday’s series opener. The defeat came hours after the club held a players only meeting in an attempt to instill some confidence after a 1-5 road trip to Seattle and Los Angeles.

The meeting apparently didn’t help, as Toronto ace Roy Halladay(notes) pitched eight strong innings to help the Blue Jays (55-59) snap a five-game losing streak at Tampa Bay.

The Rays, who are looking to remain a serious wild-card contender but now trail Boston by 5 1/2 games, might need more than a team meeting to help their cause.

Looking to avoid their longest losing streak since dropping seven in a row July 7-13, 2008, the Rays have been outscored 40-16 during their five-game skid, while batting .247 and posting a hefty 8.12 ERA.

“This is when we have to stick together,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “And stay with it.”

Saturday’s starter Scott Kazmir(notes) (6-7, 6.50 ERA) took the loss at Seattle on Sunday to begin the losing stretch for the Rays, who had their three-game home winning streak snapped Friday.

Struggling through the worst of his five full major league seasons, Kazmir allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of that 11-2 loss to the Mariners.

“It was frustrating,” said Kazmir, a 2008 All-Star who’s trying to extend his run of four straight seasons with at least 10 wins.

The left-hander wasn’t much better in his last outing versus Toronto, allowing seven runs in 6 1-3 innings, while not receiving a decision in a 10-9 win over the Blue Jays on July 8.

Kazmir is 3-4 with a 4.02 ERA in 12 starts against Toronto.

Toronto’s Lyle Overbay(notes), who is 4 for 12 against Kazmir, hit a two-run homer Friday for the Blue Jays, who improved to 3-7 against the Rays this season.

Overbay is 7 for 15 with two home runs and six RBIs in his last four games overall, and 4 for 8 in his last two against Tampa Bay after recording one hit in his previous seven contests versus the Rays this season.

Brian Tallet(notes) (5-6, 4.85) takes the ball for the Blue Jays, replacing the injured Brett Cecil(notes) (knee). He’s 5-6 with a 5.01 ERA in 18 starts this season.

The left-hander is making his first start since allowing five runs in six innings of a 10-9, 12-inning home loss to the Rays on July 25. Tallet has a 13.00 ERA while not receiving a decision in two career starts against Tampa Bay, both this season.

Carl Crawford(notes), who had four hits Friday for the Rays, is 5 for 12 against Tallet. The All-Star left fielder is batting .349 against the Blue Jays in 2009.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Tallet SD vs. S. Kazmir Hou
7-9 Record 10-9
5.32 ERA 4.89
120 K 117
72 BB 60
1.50 WHIP 1.42


Saturday, Aug 15