Blue Jays hope to return to winning ways vs. Phillies

May has not been kind to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Even after a win on Friday night, the Blue Jays are 8-15 during the month and have not won back-to-back games in May. They’ll try to change that Saturday afternoon when they face the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Blue Jays defeated the Phillies 6-5 in the opener of a three-game set against the Phillies on Friday night. The win was just Toronto’s third in its last 12 games, but it started a nine-game road trip on the right foot after a 1-6 homestand.

“In baseball, you go through stretches good and bad, you go through streaks,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “It really comes down to we didn’t play good enough baseball to win many games on that homestand. That’s the bottom line. Whether we didn’t pitch good enough, or didn’t get guys in or bad defense. That’s what happens.”

The Blue Jays pounded out 11 hits on Friday night, but they’ll have a tough task in front of them Saturday. Phillies ace Aaron Nola will take the mound at Citizens Bank Park, where he is 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA in 2018.

Nola (6-2, 2.37) is coming off just his second loss of the season. He gave up four runs and seven hits in six innings against the St. Louis Cardinals last Sunday. It was the first time in 10 starts this season that Nola allowed more than three runs and just the second time he has allowed more than two.

“I left some balls over the plate right in their paths and they got a couple of doubles and some singles, and got guys in when they needed to,” Nola told reporters after the outing.

He has struggled against the Blue Jays in his career, however. Nola has a 10.13 ERA and 2.375 WHIP in two starts against Toronto (in the 2015 and 2016 seasons), and the team’s 1.010 OPS against him is the highest of any opponent that Nola has faced more than once in his career.

Jaime Garcia, meanwhile, will be making his return to the Blue Jays’ rotation. Garcia is set to be activated from a brief stint on the disabled list, where he landed with left shoulder inflammation.

The left-hander is 2-3 with a 6.28 ERA in eight starts this season. He last pitched May 15 against the New York Mets. Garcia allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings during that start.

Garcia, who spent the majority of his major league career with the Cardinals, will be making his 11th lifetime start against the Phillies. Garcia is 3-5 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.113 WHIP in his career against Philadelphia.

The current series between the Blue Jays and Phillies is the first between the teams since the 2016 season. The Blue Jays are on a four-game winning streak overall against the Phillies and have won three in a row at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ last home win against the Blue Jays came Aug. 19, 2015.