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Up next: Rays vs. Blue Jays

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 20, 2002

Tonight: 7:15

Saturday: 6:15 p.m.

Sunday: 1:15 p.m.

* * *

SCOUTING REPORT: The Blue Jays moved into third place in the AL East Sept. 10 and were six games over .500 in the second half through Wednesday.

That success earned manager Carlos Tosca, who took over when Buck Martinez was fired in early June, and his coaching staff a two-year contract extension.

Toronto is loaded with talented young position players like Carlos Delgado, Jose Cruz, Shannon Stewart, Vernon Wells, Eric Hinske and Josh Phelps. What it now needs is more pitching. Former NBA player Mark Hendrickson got his first major-league win against the Rays last weekend. Right-hander Roy Halladay was an All-Star.

Cruz and Delgado have been unstoppable against the Rays this season. Cruz is batting .352 with seven homers and 25 RBIs; Delgado .389, 7, 19.

TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: Tosca is a USF graduate and lives in Valrico. He played at Brandon High and coached at King High before moving to USF and Eckerd College. ... Halladay lives in Dunedin during the off-season.

SEASON SERIES: The Blue Jays took a 10-6 lead after winning two of three last weekend at SkyDome.

WHO'S HOT: Phelps has 15 homers and 55 RBIs in 62 games in this half. In his past five games entering Thursday, he was hitting .529 with three doubles, two homers and 7 RBIs.

WHO'S NOT: A candidate to win the Clemente Award, Wells was hitting .031 with an RBI, run, walk and three strikeouts in his previous eight games.

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