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Blue Jays takeaways: Kay sharp in debut as Stroman deal starts paying off

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At first glance, Saturday’s starting pitchers were mismatched.

Pitching for the Rays was Charlie Morton, one of the American League’s best starters. With an ERA hovering around 3.00 and well over 200 strikeouts, he’s in the midst of a career year at age 35. He’s not lucking into it, either. Morton consistently locates his 95 m.p.h. fastball where he wants it then confuses opponents with a breaking ball that starts off the plate then sweeps over it at the last minute. By then, it’s usually too late to adjust.

More often than not, that combination’s been enough to overpower the game’s best hitters. So ahead of Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays, the Rays had reason to feel optimistic, especially considering that Toronto’s Anthony Kay would be making his MLB debut.

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Morton was as effective as usual, striking out 10 Blue Jays over six innings of work. But it was Kay who out-pitched Morton, allowing just two earned runs over 5.2 innings in a game the Rays eventually won 5-3 after scoring three times against the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

At field level, the loss extends the Blue Jays’ losing streak to six and gives them a 55-88 record on the season. From another perspective, the Marcus Stroman trade has officially started paying dividends. Either way, there was plenty to observe, and after that debut, where else to start........

© Sportsnet