Game Threat: Jays (35-30) vs. Phillies (29-34)

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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies are bad. They are a bad baseball team and have players that are bad at (performing to the standards of big league) baseball.

But baseball is a funny game sometimes. The Phillies, in spite of all their badness, have won 46% of their games so far. And only three teams of the other 29 — the ridiculous Cubs (.705), as well as the Nationals and Rangers (both .619) — have won more than six for every ten.

It’s just not like other sports where teams can impress their will more regularly on opponents, with talent, strength, and determination. In the just-concluded NBA season, there were ten teams that won at least 58.5% of their regular season games or better. In the most recent NFL season, there were eleven teams who did so. In MLB last year there were only four teams that won better than 58.5% of their games, and only two above .600. In the NBA there were six teams that won 60% or better, and in the NFL that number was 11.

This is a long (and dirty) way of saying that… y’know… shit happens in baseball sometimes, and while you can’t take for granted in any sport that you’re team is much more talented than its opponent on a given day, you especially can’t do so in baseball.

The Philies could steal some of these next four games — like they’ve done a bunch of times over the course of the season (though not so much lately (they were 26-21 on May 25th, but have won just three of 16 since). It wouldn’t be the end of the world. It wouldn’t even be surprising.

But holy shit, fuck all that and let’s get a bunch of wins already! The Jays go to Camden Yards in Baltimore next weekend, and there’s no need for that to not be a springboard to bigger and better things this year. The offence is finally clicking, and they escaped this weekend’s series with a somewhat improbably three wins. No need to let up against these scums!

Scuttlebutt

Scott MacArthur tweets (several seconds before Brendan Kennedy) that Edwin Encarnacion is out of the Jays’ lineup tonight because he’s dealing with a sore finger. He jammed it on that amazing stolen base on Sunday, according to John Gibbons. But the team is hopeful it will only cost him a day.

Speaking of fast recoveries, it’s Brendan who tweets that Troy Tulowitzki is scheduled to resume baseball activity on Wednesday (in an extended Spring Training game). So… the “murky timeline” of earlier in the day seems like it’s cleared up — and isn’t as alarming as it might have initially sounded.

John Gibbons also told reporters, according to a tweet from Shi Davidi, that Roberto Osuna is indeed available tonight.

Arden Zwelling tweets that Brett Cecil, who you’ll remember is recovering from a bad bout of left arm shittiness, threw off a mound for the first time since his injury today. He felt good, but there is still no timeline for his return. The bullpen will start looking slightly less horrifying if he does come back as his old self, now that Jason Grilli is maybe a thing. Which… uh… well… one can hope, can’t one?

Carl Crawford released? That’s… nah.

TV: Sportsnet
Next Game(s): Tomorrow vs. Phillies, 12:37 PM ET
AL East Standings: BAL (-), BOS (-), TOR (2.5), NYY (5.5), TBR (6.5)
And now, the lineups…

Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Bautista(R) DH
Josh Donaldson(R) 3B
Michael Saunders(L) LF
Justin Smoak(S) 1B
Kevin Pillar(R) CF
Ezequiel Carrera(L) RF
Darwin Barney(R) SS
Devon Travis(R) 2B
Josh Thole(L) C
R.A. Dickey KBP

Philadelphia Phillies

Odubel Herrera(L) CF
Freddy Galvis(S) SS
Andres Blanco(S) 3B
Tommy Joseph(R) 1B
Ryan Howard(L) DH
Carlos Ruiz(R) C
Cody Asche(L) LF
Cesar Hernandez(S) 2B
Peter Bourjos(R) RF
Jerad Eickhoff RHP