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
”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.