Philadelphia Phillies (31-34) AT Toronto Blue Jays (31-32)

Posted: June 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Jose Bautista will be a player to watch this weekend.

The Philadelphia Phillies, fresh off their first series victory of June, head north of the border to Toronto for a 1993 World Series rematch with the Blue Jays. Both the Phillies and Jays are struggling of late and come into this weekend set with losing records. The pitching match ups for the three game set are as follows:

Vance Worley (3-2, 3.00) vs. Drew Hutchison (5-3, 4.66)
Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.18) vs. Ricky Romero (7-1, 4.15)
Kyle Kendrick (2-6, 5.08) vs. Brett Cecil (1st start of 2012)

Just by gazing at the match ups, we should be in for an exciting series. The Blue Jays, currently tied for last with Boston in AL East (6.5 games behind first place New York), send young Drew Hutchison to the mound against Vance Worley in the opener on Friday night.

Hutchison, 21, is making his 11th career start and second straight inter league start. He gave up 7 hits and 5 earned runs over 6.1 innings in Atlanta last week. Meanwhile, Worley continues to recover from injury and hopes that the cookin’ is good north of the border. Vance is 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in 5 career June starts and is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in 4 career inter-league starts. If these trends hold up, the Phillies should be in good shape on Friday.

The Jays send their ace to the hill on Saturday against the Phillies’ winless wonder, Cliff Lee. 

Romero, 27, has been brilliant during inter-league play during his career, posting a 5-2, 2.12 line in 11 career starts. In 20.1 career innings against the Phillies, he’s 1-0 with a 2.20 ERA and 19 strikeouts. Meanwhile, Lee is a mediocre 2-5, 4.23 against Toronto in his career. This has the potential to be a rough one for the Phillies, especially considering the futile offensive effort that has been exhibited during Lee’s first 10 starts of the season.

Finally, Kendrick and Cecil duel in what is the most anti-climactic matchup of the series. It’s spot-starter versus spot-starter in the potential rubber match of this three-game-set.

Cecil, 26-22, 4.64 in his career, is making his first start of 2012. The Phillies should be confident in their offense, as Cecil’s career peripheral numbers are mediocre at best. In 6 career inter league starts, the left hander is 0-4 with an 8.44 ERA and in his only start against the Phillies in 2010, he was lit up for 10 hits and 7 runs over 4.1 innings.

Meanwhile, Kendrick has performed his usual Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde routine. He has been brutal in two starts following his first career complete game shutout in St. Louis at the end of May. Now, the Phillies are relying on him to defeat an AL team on the road. Kendrick, who has been with the team since 2007, has been dominated during inter-league play in his career. In 12 career games, he is 3-4 with a 6.09 ERA. To make matters worse, Kyle has struggled mightily against the Blue Jays in two career starts. He has lasted just 8 innings, giving up 8 hits and 6 earned runs. If the Phillies hope to win this series, they’ll have to rely on their offense against Cecil on Sunday.

Those of you who are fantasy players will want to put your money on Juan Pierre this weekend. Juan has seen his career reborn with the Phillies this summer, hitting .326 as the Phils best contact hitter. He is just a career .232 hitter against Toronto, but, his numbers against Romero (.375 BA) and strong series against Minnesota suggest that his high average will only escalate this season.

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