The Phillies: How many times have the Phillies been swept in a row by now? Just the one? Oh, right; over an evening of baseball injustices, they managed squeak one out against the Cubs. Now, they'll play a four-game set against one of these ferocious AL East teams with the added fun of a 500-mile journey in the middle. Get some, Phillies!
The Blue Jays: When you're a team whose starting pitcher can give up four home runs, as Aaron Sanchez did during their last series against the Orioles (which they won, their sixth series win in their last seven tries), and you can still bail him out for the win because your offense just doesn't stop, then you shouldn't really have a problem handling the Phillies.
Edwin Encarnacion: Hit three jacks against the Orioles and scored six times. Baltimore's Mike Wright said of him, "There’s a reason he’s batting .240. I think we give him too much credit." By "credit," Wright of course meant "pitches to hit," I guess.
Josh Donaldson: Has a hit in 17 straight games.
Jose Bautista: Is Jose Bautista. Has been out with hip flexor tightness, but will return Monday night, so to be more accurate; he is a well-rested Jose Bautista.
The rest of the Blue Jays except for Darwin Barney: Had a hit in their 10-9 win on Sunday.
Tommy Joseph: Is Joseph the Phillies' best hitter yet? While everyone is scrambling and sputtering, Joseph just keeps calmly walking up to the plate bashing home runs at a faster rate than any Phillies player in over a century.
Cody Asche: Asche is back, and he's Cody Ascher than ever. He's got five hits, including a home run, in his last six games. He also yelled "F*** you!" at Jonathan Papelbon. This man is living the life.
Jerad Eickhoff vs. R.A. Dickey
Aha! The Phillies have found the tear in the Blue Jays' armor, and it is that Dickey leads all of baseball in Runs Scored on Wild Pitches! Despite being the leader in the category, does he only have four? Yes. Can the Phillies find a way to use this to their advantage? Well, not if they can't get people on base, which usually they can't. Are the Phillies able to coax Dickey into throwing wild pitches?
Not really, that's mostly on him. The point is, this is technically an advantage, sort of. But in his last start, even Dickey said his knuckler was "garbage," so maybe the Phillies are in luck. Probably not, though; Toronto still won that game 7-2.
Zach Eflin vs. Marcus Stroman
Okay, so, before, when I said Dickey might have a weak spot, Stroman's struggles are a bit more on the surface.
Marcus Stroman through 3 IP: 16 batters, 6 hits, 1 BB, 1 HBP, behind in count to 8 batters. #BlueJays— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) June 10, 2016
Guys, listen to me. Stroman doesn't seem to have much command at his disposal, so maybe it would be best to [Cesar Hernandez swings at first pitch, grounds out]. Okay, see, what I was going to say is if you exhibit a little patience, maybe work the count, you actually stand a good chance of [Freddy Galvis swings at first pitch, lofts bloopy pop-up to center]. FOR THE LOVE OF GOOD, THE MAN WAS BEHIND IN THE COUNT TO HALF OF THE FIRST 16 HITTERS HE FACED IN HIS LAST START, MAYBE IF YOU JUST TOOK A FEW PITCHES WE'D BE ABLE TO ACCIDENTALLY GET A BASE RUNNER ON.
[Maikel Franco swings at first pitch; dribbler in front of the plate fielded by Russell Martin, thrown to first,]
They should make a TV where the players can hear me, that would help.
Marco Estrada vs. Jeremy Hellickson
Since falling with Toronto, Estrada has a 2.92 ERA . That is the best ERA in the NL in that time.
J.A. Happ vs. Aaron Nola
With all the luck the Phillies have had against former teammates, this one should be a real doozy. Wait, who even on the Phillies is actually a former teammate of Happ's? Howard and Chooch? The rest of them have probably never even met him. I'm actually pretty worried that the raging fires of this city's deeply personal rivalry with J.A. Happ are beginning to cool.
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