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Rays-Blue Jays preview

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What's new: Since an 11-game winning streak got them to a season-high two games over .500, the underachieving Jays have lost 13 of 20. Though pitching has been their primary problem, the latest skid is because of a lack of offense, averaging fewer than four runs per game with Jose Reyes back from the DL, and Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the middle of the lineup. Injuries and inconsistent performances by the three imported starters — Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and Josh Johnson — have marred the rotation, which is 29th in the majors with a 5.07 ERA. The bullpen, featuring All-Stars Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar, has an AL-best 2.90 ERA.

Key stat: The Jays have had a losing record at the All-Star break for the past seven seasons.

Connections: Rays C Jose Molina, SS Yunel Escobar and INF/OF Kelly Johnson are former Jays; Bautista was briefly a Ray.

Series history: Tied this season 5-5; Jays lead 140-127 overall; 73-60 at Rogers Centre.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Blue Jays preview 07/18/13 [Last modified: Thursday, July 18, 2013 8:23pm]
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