Fresh off a three-game sweep over the Braves in Atlanta, the Blue Jays will return to Dunedin to face the Philadelphia Phillies. Let’s hope the team can follow up their 1992-esque pounding of the Braves with a 1993-esque pounding of the Phillies.
How they’re doing…
The Phillies have been so-so this year. They’re 20-18 after taking two of three from the Washington Nationals but their run differential suggests that they’re slightly overachieving.
They rank below-average offensive with 4.13 runs per game and 4.26 runs against per game. Their starting rotation, led by Wheeler, Nola, and Zach Eflin is one of the best in the big leagues, but their bullpen, yet again, is a weak point as they rank 21st in baseball with a 4.51 bullpen ERA.
Philly’s offence also took a big blow this week as J.T. Realmuto was placed on the COVID Injured List and won’t be available for this weekend’s series. Realmuto, who has slashed a .314/.418/.520 line this season, has been Philly’s only consistently good bat other than Bryce Harper. Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen are both underachieving and Alec Bohm and Didi Gregorious are struggling mightily.
Mandatory Credit: Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Steven Matz vs Vince Velasquez
??? vs Aaron Nola
Robbie Ray vs Chase Anderson
The Blue Jays will send out Steven Matz for the opener on Friday and they’ll start Robbie Ray in the finale on Sunday. But who’s going in that middle game on Saturday?
Last time through the rotation, of course, this was Nate Pearson’s outing. Pearson struggled in Houston on Sunday and was promptly sent back down to Triple-A after the game. The time through the rotation before that, it was Anthony Kay starting in this spot, so we could see him get another go, possibly piggybacking with Trent Thornton.
For the Phillies, we’ll see Vince Velasquez, Aaron Nola, and Blue Jays Legend Chase Anderson, and we’ll avoid their ace, Zack Wheeler.
Velasquez is a name we’re familiar with because he faced the Blue Jays twice last season, getting drilled for four runs over five innings in one start and then allowing just one earned run over six innings in the second start. Velasquez has a solid 4.18 ERA over seven appearances, four of which have been starts, but his peripheral numbers are terrible as he’s allowing 6.1 walks-per-nine and has allowed a lot of hard contact.
Nola is the best arm the Blue Jays will see this weekend. He has a 3.59 ERA through nine starts and, unlike Velasquez, he’s underachieving his peripherals. Nola is striking out 10 batters per nine and he’s only walking 1.5 per nine. Finally, there’s Chase Anderson, who was bad for the Blue Jays last season and is now bad for the Phillies this season.