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Up next: at Jays

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001


SCOUTING REPORT: The Jays are built around offense, and Tampa Bay fans saw the fury of which they are capable last week when the Jays scored 11 runs in back-to-back games. Carlos Delgado is usually in the center of their storm, though he will get plenty of support from Tony Batista, Raul Mondesi and Brad Fullmer. The Jays lost some speed when Homer Bush went on the disabled list with a hand injury, but still have an exciting leadoff man in Shannon Stewart. Closer Billy Koch is one of the league's best, and the rotation performed better than expected the first time through.

THE PAST WEEK: After losing to the Rays on Tuesday, the Jays won four straight, beating up the Rays and winning two at Yankee Stadium, banging out 16 hits Friday night. The offense was expected, and they went into play Sunday leading the league in hitting and home runs. The quality of the starting pitching has been surprising. Starters have worked at least seven innings three times.

EX-RAYS: Left-hander Chris Michalak was in spring training with the Rays last season and released by Triple-A Durham. But he won a job in the Toronto rotation with a strong spring, and Saturday won his first big-league game, beating the Yankees in New York. The Rays haven't had a left-hander start a game since October 1999.

PITCHING MATCHUPS: Today: RHP Paul Wilson (0-0, 5.40) vs. RHP Joey Hamilton (0-0, 1.80); Tuesday: RHP Bryan Rekar (0-1, 3.00) vs. RHP Chris Carpenter (1-0, 0.00); Wednesday: RHP Ryan Rupe (0-1, 19.64) vs. RHP Esteban Loiaza (2-0, 1.93).

SEASON SERIES: The Rays won the opener, but the Jays won the next two, outscoring the Rays 22-8. After going 2-13 in their first 15 games in Toronto, the Rays won three of four in September.

WHO'S HOT:Delgado hit three home runs against the Rays on Wednesday and two more Friday against the Yankees. His 10 home runs against the Rays are the most by any player.

WHO'S NOT: Batista had a record offensive season last year, but has yet to show the same form. He is hitting .167 with five hits and eight strikeouts in 30 at-bats.

-- Compiled by Marc Topkin.

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