In fourth and fifth place in the competitive AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays rank in the bottom half of the American League in many of the representative batting categories. They’ll hope to get healthy off of each team’s struggling starter Tuesday night.
The projected starters are J.A. Happ (4.26 ERA) and Roberto Hernandez (5.28 ERA). Happ, once a highly-regarded prospect for the Philadelphia Phillies, has since has been traded twice.
There has been much speculation that he may ultimately be more successful as a lefty reliever, but Toronto’s rotational struggles — with the demotion of Ricky Romero and his ultimate recall when Josh Johnson was placed on the disabled list — has allowed Happ to remain.
Hernandez is the first free agent starter to start for Tampa since Hideo Nomo. Though they’re notorious for drafting and developing their own pitching, the Rays felt that Hernandez was more prepared to help than any of their own arms, like Chris Archer.
While Hernandez himself has been underwhelming, the Rays’ usually staunch bullpen has also been a weakness. After blowing the save Monday night, there were many reports that Fernando Rodney has regressed significantly from his 2012 resurrection. His inability to consistently throw strikes could create a major problem throughout the season.
Though both teams have suffered through a myriad of struggles thus far in the young season, they’ll hope to get the bats going tonight against each other’s struggling starters.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.