Phillies-Blue Jays Preview

Ricky Romero is coming off his shortest outing of the


At least the Toronto Blue Jays left-hander didn’t get hurt.

Romero goes for his eighth win Saturday at Rogers Centre, where

Philadelphia Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee gets another crack at

No. 1.

After lasting at least six innings in 10 of his previous 11

starts, Romero (7-1, 4.15 ERA) went just four in Sunday’s 12-4

victory at Atlanta. He was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the fifth

when Toronto was down 4-0 and had a bases-loaded situation.

“I’m glad it worked out for us and we were able to get the win,”

Romero told the Blue Jays’ official website after his 69-pitch


Toronto (32-32) snapped a three-game skid with Friday’s 3-0

series-opening victory over the Phillies, but a bigger concern is

that it may have lost a third starting pitcher in five days. Rookie

right-hander Drew Hutchison lasted just nine pitches before

departing with soreness in his right elbow.

Brandon Morrow was placed on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday

after straining his left oblique nine pitches into Monday’s start.

Kyle Drabek had to leave his outing Wednesday after 4 1-3 innings,

and he could be facing a second Tommy John surgery following an MRI

that revealed a torn ligament in his right elbow.

“I’ve never seen this,” said Blue Jays manager John Farrell,

whose team had dropped six of seven heading into this series.

“We’re getting challenges thrown at us from every different angle

and health right now is certainly the big one.”

Toronto also might be concerned about an offense that’s scored

three runs or fewer in seven of eight contests, but Romero has one

of the majors’ highest run-support averages at 7.54.

Lee (0-3, 3.18) is near the bottom in that category at 2.55. He

was staked to a 4-1 lead in his last start, though, squandering it

in the fourth inning before the Phillies lost 5-4 in 10 innings at


“I’ll take four runs every time,” Lee told the Phillies’

official website after striking out eight in six innings.

The 2008 AL Cy Young winner is winless in 10 starts. Prior to

this season, it had never taken him more than three to win his

first game.

“I guess it seems to be frustrating, but I can only control what

I can control,” said Lee, 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in two interleague

starts in 2012.

Lee’s batterymate Saturday could be Brian Schneider after Carlos

Ruiz left in the seventh inning Friday with a strained muscle in

his left side.

“(Ruiz) won’t be able to play for a few days for sure,” Phillies

manager Charlie Manuel said. “We’ll know more by tomorrow.”

Placido Polanco could return to the Phillies’ lineup after

grounding into a fielder’s choice as a pinch-hitter Friday. The

third baseman is 1 for 11 in three games since missing six with a

left wrist injury.

Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie will try to hit safely in

his sixth consecutive game after going 2 for 4 with two doubles


Jose Bautista, 3 for 9 with a homer against Lee, has reached

base safely in 15 consecutive games. He’s batting .286 (14 for 49)

with seven home runs, 15 RBIs and 15 walks during that stretch.

Phillies slugger Jim Thome is one walk shy of tying Mickey

Mantle for seventh all-time with 1,733.

Thome, hitless in two at-bats against Romero, was 11 for 24 with

three homers and 13 RBIs in the first six games of this interleague

road trip but 0 for 3 on Friday as Philadelphia was shut out for

the first time since April 18.