Can Toronto take advantage of Tampa’s struggles?

After a themed beach party on Sunday night in Florida and a day off in the Sunshine State on Monday, the Toronto Blue Jays are back in action on Tuesday when they open a mini-series against the struggling Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays are 11-3 under interim manager John Schneider, but the team has a dismal all-time record of 84-127 at Tampa’s Tropicana Field.

Coming off a 4-2 homestand, the Blue Jays now play nine straight on the road.

Here’s a look at the Blue Jays-Rays series, which begins just over an hour after Tuesday’s trade deadline.

Likely pitchers

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. ET / 4:10 p.m. PT: Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (7-8, 3.30 ERA) vs. Tampa RHP Drew Rasmussen (6-3, 3.17 ERA)

Wednesday, 12:10 p.m. ET / 9:10 a.m. PT: Toronto LHP Yusei Kikuchi (4-5, 4.89 ERA) vs. Tampa TBA

(Both games on Sportsnet)

The latest on the Blue Jays

The Blue Jays (57-45) won three of four from the Detroit Tigers over the weekend at Rogers Center.

While the Tigers are one of the worst teams in the American League, the Blue Jays had to scratch and scratch to get all of their wins.

Teoscar Hernández had the big punch in Saturday’s 5-3 win, hitting a three-run homer in the sixth, while José Berríos pitched seven innings of one-run ball on Sunday.

Third baseman Matt Chapman is red hot. He was 5-for-10 in the Detroit series with four home runs.

The latest on the Rays

The Rays (54-48) have lost seven of 10 since the All-Star break, including two of three over the weekend against the Cleveland Guardians.

The slump has left the Rays tied for second with the Seattle Mariners in the wild-card race, three games behind the Blue Jays.

Rays ace Cy Young candidate Shane McClanahan gave up a season-high five runs in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland on Sunday.

The Rays have been hit hard by injuries.

At one point last month, they had 17 players on the disabled list.

Hey (Jose) Siri, can you help the Rays?

With so many players injured, the Rays have been busy trying to beef up their roster ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline at 6 pm ET.

Tampa acquired outfielder Jose Siri from the Houston Astros in a three-team deal Monday and added bullpen depth by trading with the Los Angeles Dodgers for left-hander Garrett Cleavinger.

On Saturday, the Rays negotiated with the Arizona Diamondbacks to hire another outfielder: David Peralta.

The Rays, led by two-time reigning AL manager of the year Kevin Cash, are looking to advance to the playoffs for the fourth straight year.

season series

As usual, the Rays have been a problem for the Blue Jays this year, winning two of three in Tampa in May and three of five over Canada Day weekend in Toronto.

The series at Rogers Center was particularly ugly for the Blue Jays, who saw Gausman suffer an ankle injury that kept him out a couple of weeks when he was hit by a Wander Franco return early in a 6-2 loss ( Franco is now out with a wrist injury). Gausman’s setback was followed by an ugly 11-5 loss in the second game of a doubleheader, which exposed Toronto’s lack of shooting depth, and a 7-3 loss in the series finale.

The Blue Jays then went 1-6 on a road trip to Oakland and Seattle, essentially spelling the end for Toronto manager and former Rays coach Charlie Montoyo.

Kikuchi gets another chance

Wednesday will mark Kikuchi’s second straight start after a stint on the disabled list with a neck strain that followed a series of mostly poor starts.

His only quality start in June came against Tampa on the last day of the month when he gave up one run in six innings for the win.

Kikuchi allowed one run on two hits in five innings last week to win against Detroit in his return.

Until next time

The Blue Jays head to Minnesota for four games against the AL Central-leading Twins, then go to Baltimore for three games against the much-improved Orioles.

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