The Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays have split the first two games of a weekend series heading into Saturday’s contest at the Rogers Centre
Chicago White Sox at Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago’s lack of offense was the primary cause of its 4-2 road defeat to Toronto at the Rogers Centre Friday night and the club’s manager thinks the bats will come around. “We just don’t have key hits. That’s our problem most of the time. When you’ve got people on base, you need a hit,” said Ozzie Guillen. “We took good at-bats. When there was an opportunity to drive the run in, we couldn’t get it done.” The White Sox left 10 runners on base and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. The team is 6-20 in its last 26 games versus the Blue Jays, including a 3-13 mark at today’s venue. Chicago is still 13-7 since May 7, tied for the fourth-best record in baseball over that span. The squad is 10-10 in day games this season and 67-63 under the sun the past three years.
White Sox starting pitcher Edwin Jackson will be making his 11th start of the season and sixth on the road, bringing in a 4-5 record and 4.26 ERA. The right-hander is an even 2-2 with a 2.08 ERA in his last four starts, but has gone 1-3 with a 6.59 ERA in his last four outings away from the Windy City. Jackson has allowed just four home runs in 10 starts this season, with all coming versus left-handed hitters. In 13 career appearances (12 starts) versus the Blue Jays, he is 3-3 with a 4.02 ERA, including a 1-0 mark and 2.43 ERA in his seven career appearances at Rogers Centre.
Toronto snapped a three-game losing streak Friday with its 15th win in 19 games against Chicago at home. “We needed this one, for sure,” said manager John Farrell. Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar came through with a go-ahead RBI double in the seventh that proved to be the difference, as he finished 2-for-5 and is batting .358 over the past 17 games. The Blue Jays entered yesterday’s game leading the American League with a .293 batting average and .363 on-base percentage against left-handed pitching. That has been a major difference when considering it ranked last in the Majors last year with a .215 average against southpaws. Toronto is 6-15 in day games this season.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Carlos Villanueva will be making his second start of the season (15th appearance), entering with a perfect 2-0 record and 1.53 ERA, allowing opponents to hit just .129 against him. The right-hander tallied a 7-3 road victory over the Yankees in his first spot start of the 2011 campaign, surrendering just a single run and two hits over five strong innings. He has tossed one perfect inning of relief against the White Sox in his career.
Bettors will be interested in backing the White Sox due to their 7-0 record following a loss, while the Blue Jays are 0-4 following a win