video thumbnail

TB@CWS: Hernandez fans five over six frames

If the Blue Jays hopes to build on their momentum from Monday's incredible 8-7, come-from-behind victory, Tuesday figures to be an important matchup as Toronto again faces the Rays, the team just ahead of them in fourth place in the American League East.

Monday's victory, in which the Blue Jays were down, 7-0, after three innings, should give the team some much-need confidence in the second game of the four-game set at Tropicana Field.

Just 33 games into the 2013 season, the Blue Jays sit nine games under .500, far different than where the club expected to be after its busy offseason.

"The heat comes down on you, you can't slide by, that's for sure," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "But you want expectations, because it means you think you have a good team, and the baseball world thinks you have a good team. But talk gets you nowhere, you still have to go out and do it, and we haven't done it to this point."

Taking the mound for Toronto on Tuesday will be J.A. Happ, who has pitched fairly well so far this season despite his 2-2 record. The left-hander boasts a 3.98 ERA over his first six starts of the year, but has surrendered just five runs in his last 15 2/3 innings of work.

Opposing Happ for the Rays will be Roberto Hernandez, who has lost four of his first five starts in 2013.

Two outings ago, the right-hander shut out the A's over six innings to earn his first win of the year, but he followed that performance up by allowing five runs in six innings against the White Sox his last time out. Despite Hernandez's 5.28 ERA to date, Rays manager Joe Maddon has a ton of confidence in the 32-year-old.

"This guy, for me, is on a mission to prove that he's a big league pitcher and he can be here and be successful again and pitch for several more years," Maddon said. "He has a great look every time he goes out there. The other day I took him out after five or six, and he wanted to go one more. And I said, 'No, that's good.' I mean, this guy is very motivated. Just be patient with him. I think as the year progresses, this guy is going to get really good."

Blue Jays: Drabek throws in 'pen
Kyle Drabek threw a bullpen session on Monday at the Blue Jays' Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. There is no firm timetable on when Drabek will start getting into games, but he is expected to be out until July after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year.

• Luis Perez is expected to pitch in an extended spring game later this week. Perez has been throwing bullpen sessions but has yet to get into an actual game. He also had Tommy John surgery last year, but as a reliever, he should have a faster timetable than Drabek and right-hander Drew Hutchison, who also underwent the procedure.

Rays: Zobrist grieving
Ben Zobrist missed his second consecutive game Monday night due to the death of his grandmother. Maddon said he expected Zobrist to be back with the team Tuesday.

• Maddon would like to see his pitching staff throw more fastballs and not mess with the offspeed stuff as much.

"It's still the best pitch in the game," Maddon said. "Changeup is the second-best pitch in the game. And then it goes down to curveball and you can move it down the line. When you have a good fastball like we do, and if we're able to throw it where we want to and get ahead in counts, we can dominate games again. But we choose to not be aggressive with our fastball and want to really try to utilize all the other things. I think that's what's really getting us in trouble."

Worth noting
• The Rays have won 17 consecutive completed home series over the Blue Jays.

• Rays starting pitchers have worked at least five innings in all 31 games this season. Comments