With David Price taking the mound, the Blue Jays will have their work cut out for them against the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. The ace lefty was originally slated to pitch on Saturday, but he came down with the flu and his start was pushed back a day.
Price has dominated Toronto in 18 career starts, going 14-2 with a 2.45 ERA. At home, the ace lefty is 7-2 with a 1.62 ERA vs. Tampa Bay's rivals from the north.
"This is a team that we've played well against the past couple of years," said Price, who owns a 2.17 ERA in his last eight outings after a rocky start to the season. "They've had the best first half that they've had in a while. This is kind of what we expected from this team."
Price picked up his third straight win Sunday night when he went 8 2/3 innings against the Tigers in Detroit. He believes he's pitching better than at any point in his career.
R.A. Dickey will make the start in the Blue Jays' last game before the All-Star break. Dickey, the 39-year-old knuckleballer, will get the ball in place of scheduled starter J.A. Happ, who pitched in relief in Saturday's 10-3 loss.
The team's off-day on Thursday means Dickey will be pitching on regular rest.
"I just pitch when they tell me to pitch," said Dickey. "They came up and said, 'You want to pitch?' And I said, 'Sure.'"
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.64 ERA in six career starts at Tropicana Field. In 10 lifetime starts against the Rays, Dickey is 4-4 with a 4.40 ERA.
Dickey beat the Angels in his last start, tossing seven scoreless innings to earn his first win since June 4.
Blue Jays: Bautista could play outfield Sunday
Jose Bautista may make his return to right field in Sunday's series finale against the Rays, manager John Gibbons said Saturday.
Anthony Gose, called up from Triple-A Buffalo to replace the injured Nolan Reimold, played right field on Saturday. Toronto could have returned Bautista to right -- he hasn't played the position since June 22 while recovering from a nagging hamstring injury -- but elected to keep him at first base.
Gibbons said he might put Bautista back in right field on Sunday to avoid a tough matchup for the left-handed Gose against Price.
"Depending on who pitches tomorrow, if it's a lefty, Bautista might be playing right tomorrow," Gibbons said.
Rays: Balfour struggles
Grant Balfour allowed three runs in one-third of an inning while pitching the ninth in Friday night's 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays. By doing so, Balfour allowed more runs than he had in his previous 12 outings combined.
"Overall, the pitch selection I think has been pretty good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's the [leadoff walk in the ninth] that hurt him [Friday night]. ... We're walking too many guys in crucial moments. We have to make them earn it."
Balfour has struggled with walks all season.
"That's what's been surprising, because he's not been that guy who walks that many folks," Maddon said. "And more than anything, I think that's what's hurt him, the base on balls."
• Sunday at Target Field is the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, airing on MLB Network at 5 p.m ET. The Rays are sending left-hander Enny Romero (World Team, Triple-A Durham) and catcher Justin O'Conner (U.S. Team, Class A Advanced Charlotte). Romero is the first three-time Futures Game selection in Rays history.
• The Rays will arrive at the All-Star break with their worst record since 2007 (43-53). This weekend's three-game series against Toronto will conclude a stretch of 17 straight games against teams over .500 heading into the All-Star break.
• The Blue Jays haven't won a series at The Trop since 2007. That's 20 straight series without a win (18 lost, 2 split), the longest such streak since the Rays went 25 straight non-winning series at Fenway from '00-08.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.