The Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays meet up for a three-game interleague starting Friday afternoon at the Rogers Centre
Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia finished June with a 17-10 record and winning two of three games against Boston to end a six-game homestand with a 4-2 mark. The Phillies will be playing the second of four straight day games this afternoon, bringing in a National League-leading 18-6 record in such contests. The pitching staff has been truly dominant under the sun, registering an MLB-2.35 ERA during the day in 2011. That’s nothing new for a group that leads the majors with a 3.01 staff ERA. Philadelphia has won four of five meetings with Toronto, including two of three from June 25-27, 2010. In facing 23 left-handed starters this year, the squad has tallied an impressive 16-7 mark.
Phillies starting pitcher Kyle Kendrick is an even 4-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 19 games (five starts) this season. The right-hander has been solid on the road, posting a 2-1 record and 3.54 ERA in nine outings (one start), but has registered just three strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings. Kendrick will also be making his first start since allowing one run over seven innings against the Marlins on June 15. He has made just one other appearance against the Blue Jays, tossing one inning of scoreless baseball.
Toronto is expecting a sellout crowd Friday in celebration of Canada Day, a national holiday celebrating the anniversary of the country’s birthday. The Blue Jays should be supremely motivated in getting the chance to play in front of such a crowd, as the club is averaging 20,661 fans a game. The Blue Jays have lost three of their last four meetings with the Phillies at the Rogers Centre, but picked up a 5-2 win on Canada Day in 2006. Playing its fourth game of a six-game homestand, the club enters with a 1-2 mark, dropping a 6-2 contest to the Pirates last night. Toronto is 10-21 in day games this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero is 7-7 with a 2.74 ERA in 16 starts this season and the club has alternated wins and losses over his last four outings. He comes in off a 5-0 complete game shutout in St. Louis, scattering four hits and striking out five. The left-hander is a solid 4-2 with a 2.74 ERA in seven home outings, as opponents are hitting just .200 against him. The 26-year-old has recorded nine consecutive appearances of seven or more innings, which is the longest active streak in the majors. In two lifetime starts versus the Phillies, he is 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA, giving up just eight hits in 14 frames.
Bettors will be interested in backing the Phillies due to their 19-9 mark in Kendrick’s last 28 starts to open a series, while the Blue Jays are 2-6 as an interleague favorite