Phillies-Blue Jays Preview

In an already frustrating season for the Philadelphia Phillies,

this weekend has been particularly taxing.

The Phillies will try to avoid a sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays

on Sunday in the finale of a disappointing nine-game road trip.

Expected to contend for a sixth consecutive NL East title,

Philadelphia instead finds itself last in the division having lost

11 of 14.

After being held to five hits in a 3-0 loss Friday, the Phillies

(31-36) suffered their third walk-off loss of this trip and eighth

of the season after falling 6-5 in 10 innings Saturday.

“We’ve been in good positions to win, that’s what’s hard to

figure out,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We put ourselves in good

positions but we can’t get the job done.”

Rajai Davis’ single that bounced over the wall with two outs in

the 10th knocked in the winning run to complete the rally for the

Blue Jays, who scored three runs in the eighth off winless Cliff

Lee to erase a 5-2 deficit.

This has been a tough stretch for Phillies pitching. Over the

last 10 games, their starters are 3-4 with a 5.12 ERA, while the

bullpen has blown two save opportunities during that stretch.

Philadelphia is looking to avoid getting swept in an interleague

series for the first time since 2009 against Baltimore. The

Phillies may be without Carlos Ruiz – batting a team-leading .362 –

for a second straight game after he left Friday with a sore muscle

in his side.

Manuel said Ruiz could miss a few games, although the catcher

said he was available if needed.

The win for the Blue Jays (33-32) came after they placed

right-hander Drew Hutchison on the disabled list. He joins Kyle

Drabek and Brandon Morrow as starting pitchers to suffer injuries

this week.

”Adversity makes you tighter and stronger, either makes you or

breaks you,” Davis said. ”This is a team of character and we have

a lot of strength in our character.”

In place of Morrow, Brett Cecil will make his 2012 debut.

The left-hander went 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA last season after

winning 15 games in 2010. He was expected to be part of the

rotation to start the year, but struggles with his control in

spring training led to him starting the year in the minors.

“I never want to take a guy’s spot because he’s hurt,” Cecil

told the Blue Jays’ official website. “I want to feel like I earned

it – and I do feel like I earned it and I do deserve to be up


Cecil made his only appearance against the Phillies in 2010,

allowing seven runs – five earned – in 4 2-3 innings of an 11-2


Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 5.08 ERA) will try to bounce back from two

disappointing outings for Philadelphia.

The right-hander has allowed 11 runs and 12 hits over 9 2-3

innings in losing his past two starts. He lasted four innings in

his second shortest start of the season Tuesday in an 11-7 loss at


Kendrick struggled at Toronto on July 1, yielding six runs and

eight hits – two homers – while hitting two batters over seven

innings before leaving without a decision.