The Blue Jays, who took two of three in the Bronx to clinch their first series win since July 27-29, return to Toronto on Thursday to begin a four-game series with the Rays.
Toronto has struggled, losing 22 of its last 29 since July 29. So, too, have the Rays, who had lost four games before snapping a losing streak with a win over the Rangers on Wednesday.
And although the Blue Jays are riding high after getting that elusive series win, Thursday's contest brings the challenge of one of the American League's hottest pitchers.
Rays rookie Matt Moore comes to Rogers Centre unbeaten since July 22, a span in which he's 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA.
"I feel pretty strong as far as the confidence in how my last few starts have gone," Moore said. "The ball is coming out good. I feel like I've been locating my fastball fairly well. Just good enough not to get in situations to cost me the game early."
Moore has already beaten the Blue Jays during his hot stretch, tossing six innings of one-run ball against them on Aug. 9. Toronto batters are hitting a combined .111 in their careers against the lefty.
The Blue Jays counter with right-hander Carlos Villanueva, who has been one of their top starters since joining the rotation. Villanueva has a 3.34 ERA in 10 starts, but only a 4-4 record. He was saddled with a loss in his last start against the Rays, on Aug. 8, despite turning in a quality start and striking out seven.
Rays: Maddon keeping patient with Pena
After an 0-for-4 day with four strikeouts against the Rangers on Tuesday, Carlos Pena met with manager Joe Maddon to discuss his struggles.
These struggles haven't been exclusive to recent play either, as Pena is batting just .188 with 16 homers and 50 RBIs on the season. He's seen less playing time lately, but when he has been in the order, it's usually in the bottom third.
Maddon theorized that one major component to the inefficiencies is a shift that teams are employing when Pena comes to the plate. Maddon remains confident in Pena, though, as he's seen others struggle in the same circumstance, including Mo Vaughn, whom he coached with the Angels.
"[Pena's] confidence has taken a hit based on a lot of well-struck balls being outs," Maddon said. "That's the best way I can describe it. But that's just the way it is for a lot of lefties in the game today who are of that ilk."
Blue Jays: Rookies have chance to impress
With Jose Bautista (surgery on left wrist) out for the remainder of the season, rookie Moises Sierra has even more of a chance to show off his skills. Sierra, 23, is hitting .262 with two home runs and five RBIs in 23 games. He's also impressed manager John Farrell with his defense.
"His routes in right field have been very good, and not just with routine type of plays," Farrell said. "There have been some line drives, even in this series, that have been hit right at him that have tailed toward the line, where he has made an adjustment going for some fly balls. He has done a very good job."
Fellow rookie Adeiny Hechavarria has recorded a hit in five straight games, batting .316 with three RBIs in that span.
Edwin Encarnacion leads the Jays in hits (131), home runs (34), RBIs (89) and walks (65).
Tampa Bay's Jeff Keppinger is hitting .400 in his career against Villanueva, and Luke Scott has a .364 career average against the righty.