The Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals open up a three-game interleague series Friday night at Busch Stadium
Toronto Blue Jays at St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto has lost 11 of its last 16 contests versus the National League, including a 5-1 loss in Atlanta Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Jays were outscored, 12-2, in the sweep by the Braves and accumulated just 13 hits in the series. “It’s frustrating. This team has shown it has offensive capabilities,” Blue Jays manager John Farrell stated. “Over the last four days, the numbers don’t lie.” The club has never fared well during interleague play, coming into this series with a 118-138 all-time mark. Outfielder Jose Bautista is also slumping over a four-game losing streak, going 2 for 15 at the plate over that span. Toronto is 27-18 in night games this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow is 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA in 11 starts this season and is coming off one of his best performances of the season. The right-hander tallied his first win since May 15 last time out, tossing 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 4-0 road win over the Reds. He will be looking to remain perfect on the road this season, registering a perfect 3-0 mark and 1.80 ERA in five away games. In his only career start against St. Louis, Morrow limited the club to five hits and struck out eight in a 5-0 win on June 24, 2010.
St. Louis is tied atop the National League Central standings with Milwaukee after picking up a dominating 12-2 home victory over Philadelphia last night. It also served as the Cardinals first win since placing first baseman Albert Pujols on the disabled list. “We needed this,” said infielder Skip Schumaker. “No doubt. This was a must-win for us in my opinion.” The club won for just the third time in 12 games. In continuing a homestand, St. Louis has confidence in knowing it swept Toronto in a three-game set at the old Busch Stadium in 2003. The team is 4-2 in interleague action this year and 22-14 over the last three years.
Cardinals starting pitcher Jake Westbrook is 6-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 15 starts this season and the club has alternated wins and losses over his last five outings. In his last start, he received a no-decision in a 5-4 home win over the Royals, giving up four runs and eight hits over seven innings. The right-hander has compiled an even 7-7 mark and 3.43 ERA in 29 games (19 starts) in interleague play. He has not faced the Blue Jays during interleague play, but competed against them during his time in the American League. Westbrook has a 3-2 record and 4.54 ERA in 10 lifetime appearances (eight starts) versus Toronto.
Bettors will likely back the Blue Jays due to their 20-7 record following an off day, while the Cardinals are 0-7 as an underdog