The Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays square off Saturday afternoon in the second game of an interleague series at the Rogers Centre
Philadelphia Phillies at Toronto Blue Jays
Philadelphia continues to pick up victories at a high rate by coming away with a 7-6 win Friday afternoon on Canada Day over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Phillies have had little trouble during day games, posting a 19-7 mark this year, while going 74-50 under the sun over the last three seasons. Most of this year’s success is attributed to a stellar pitching staff that had posted an MLB-best 2.45 daytime ERA entering the series. Manager Charlie Manuel usually has his club heating up during the summer months, especially in July. During his tenure, Philadelphia is a National League-best 94-64 during this particular month.
Phillies starting pitcher Roy Halladay returns to the Rogers Centre for the first time since being traded during the middle of the 2009 campaign. The right-hander will undoubtedly receive some type of ovation before throwing his first pitch Saturday. “I don’t think Blue Jays fans are going to cheer for Doc to do well against us,” said former Toronto teammate John McDonald. “I think they’re going to cheer for Doc to show him how much they appreciate what he has done for the baseball franchise here.” Philadelphia is glad to have him on its side, winning his last eight starts overall, while he seeks to earn his sixth straight victory.
Toronto’s special red jerseys weren’t enough yesterday to stop the club from dropping its fourth game in five contests. The Blue Jays may also be missing shortstop Yunel Escobar for the remainder of the series and possibly longer, getting hit on the left hand by a pitch Friday. He was swinging a red-hot bat in collecting hits in 10 of his last 20 at-bats. The club would probably elect to move all of its games to later in the day if it had a choice, entering the second game of this series with a miserable 10-22 daytime record. Playing at the Rogers Centre has also been favorable for opponents, as the Blue Jays are 18-21 at home.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva has compiled a solid 5-1 record and 3.15 ERA in 21 appearances (seven starts) this season. The right-hander has led Toronto to victories in six of his last seven outings. Villanueva will be making just his third start (10th appearance) at home, posting a 1-0 mark and 4.13 ERA. In 11 relief appearances in his career against the Phillies, he has yet to record a decision, while allowing three runs (two earned) in 14 1/3 innings.
Bettors are likely to back the Phillies due to their 38-15 mark in Halladay’s starts, while the Blue Jays are 0-4 as a home underdog