Game Day Preview: Phillies (38-32) "at" Blue Jays (39-34)
Blue Jays fans have had this series circled on their calendar since the Phillies acquired Roy Halladay on December 16, 2009. Tonight will be a "home game" for the Jays, however their fans will have to drive about 535 miles to see the game in-person. The Phillies/Blue Jays series was scheduled to take place in Toronto, however it was moved due to security concerns surrounding the G-20 Summit. Fittingly, Roy Halladay (8-6, 2.43) will face his former mates in the opener of the three-game weekends series. He's said it will be "a regular start" but we all know that's not true. Halladay claims the start against the Jays in Sprint Training got the emotions out of the way. The Jays counter with Jesse Litsch (0-1, 6.75) who's making just his third start of the season. In his last start, Litsch went seven strong innings giving up just three hits but was saddled with a no decision.
Coming off a three-game sweep of the Indians, it appears that things have taken a turn for the better for the two-time defending NL Champs. The Phillies have won seven of 10 and are averaging just over six runs per game. Earlier this week, the Phils were 5 1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East standings. A sweep of the Tribe, combined with a White Sox sweep of the Braves has tightened things up in a hurry. Entering play on Friday, the Phillies are just 2 1/2 games out of first. On the off day Monday, I posted a story encouraging Phillies fans not to panic. Obviously there's a long way to go, but it seems like the team is clicking and gaining confidence with each win.
Injury Updates: J.A. Happ appears to be getting closer to returning from the DL. He'll make his next rehab start with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Tuesday. Ryan Madson threw a bullpen session yesterday and will begin his rehab assignment with Single-A Clearwater on Sunday.
Down on the Pharm: The Phillies have promoted prospect Domonic Brown to Triple-A. This season, Brown was hitting .318 with 15 home runs at Double-A Reading. Brown's been hot lately and is hitting .368 in his last 10 games with 5 dingers.
Game Time Forecast: Clear skies with first pitch temp. around 80 (26 degrees Celsius for you Jays fans)