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MLB: AUG 25 Phillies at Blue Jays
Let’s hear it for Canada!
Photo by Jeff Chevrier/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A salute to the great white north: Phillies vs. Blue Jays series preview

The Phillies (or at least some of them) travel to Canada

Let’s get this out of the way: J.T. Realmuto and the others absolutely have a choice whether or not to get the vaccine. And as fans of the team which is hurt by that choice, as well as fellow citizens of the planet who could be hurt by that choice, we absolutely have the right to criticize that choice.

Anyway, the Phillies will be traveling to Canada for the first time since 2018. And while some fans are angry about our northern neighbor’s policy on public health and who they allow into their country, I’m going to offer some praise to those wacky, maple syrup lovers.

Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 45-42 (Fourth place in American League East, 16.5 games back)

The last time they met

In 2021, the Phillies played a road series against the Blue Jays, but due to COVID travel restrictions, the series took place in Dunedin, Florida. Despite the team’s familiarity with the Dunedin area thanks to Spring Training, the series went poorly. After winning the opener, the Phillies dropped the final two games, the latter coming thanks to a particularly poor start by Chase Anderson (1.1 IP, two home runs, seven runs allowed.)

What’s the deal with the Blue Jays?

The Jays are one game worse than the Phillies but find themselves 16.5 games behind the runaway Yankees in the East. They’re in a tough division, as even the Orioles, predicted by many to suck this season, are hovering near .500.

The Blue Jays are one of the best hitting teams in the league, ranking second in the AL in team OPS, and fourth in runs scored. While they don’t have any real MVP candidates at the moment, the lineup is also bereft of weak spots.

Who’s cold?

Jose Berrios will get the start on Tuesday, and that might be a boon for a Phillies lineup that has had some struggles lately. Berrios is a two-time All-Star, but he’s having the worst season of his career with a 5.44 ERA.

What about Vlad?

Speaking of MVP candidates, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the runner-up for the AL award in 2021, but it doesn’t look like he’s going to be in contention this season. His overall numbers are fine - if a far cry from last year’s - but over the past two weeks, his OPS is just .650.

Blame Canada

Americans might give Canadians a lot of crap, but we should remember all the good things they’ve given us. Here are a few highlights:

Mike Myers - I’ve watched some of The Pentaverate on Netflix, and like most people, my reaction has been: This is kind of funny at times, but holy crap, Wayne looks old now.

Pamela Anderson - Please enjoy this clip of her and Mike Piazza which might be the most 90’s thing ever:

Claude Giroux - Admittedly, I always found Giroux to be a little overrated. Still, he’s been a very good, very consistent player, and very few of the Flyers’ failings - and oh boy have there been failings - in recent years should be laid at his feet. It’s become clearer that while he wasn’t an Ovechkin-level superstar, his presence kept the team from being a complete trainwreck for a few seasons.

IMAX movies - Do you like your movie screens REALLY big? If so, you can thank Canada, which gave us the first ever IMAX screen in the 70’s.

Wolverine - The world’s greatest superhero is from Canada. There are rumors that Hugh Jackman might come back to play him in movies again, but I think they need to re-cast, and PLEASE pick a height-appropriate actor this time!

Joe Carter’s ghost will remain

Rogers Center was hailed as the future of baseball stadiums when it opened as SkyDome in 1989. That didn’t last long as the baseball world became fascinated with Camden Yards-style retro stadiums a few years later. But some of the innovations the stadium introduced (Retractable roof, in-stadium entertainment and amenities) have become shown staying power.

Now that it’s one of the older stadiums in MLB, there was the inevitable discussion about whether or not the Blue Jays needed a new home. But it seems like instead of building a new stadium, the Rogers corporation has chosen to renovate the one-time wonder of the baseball world.

This is bad news for any Phillies fans who might want the stadium destroyed for obvious reasons.

Trivia

Last series’ answer: Ryan Howard was known for raking in St. Louis, but it was Carlos Ruiz who had three separate four-hit games at Busch Stadium. EbbyCalvinLaLoosh was correct.

This series’ question: Name every pitcher who earned a win for the Phillies during the 1993 postseason.

Non-Phillies thought

The James Webb Space Telescope seems cool and all, but surely, I’m not the only one who expected to see some alien pictures, right?

Closing thought

The Phillies haven’t done very well against the Blue Jays lately.

However, they had done even worse against the Angels heading into the season, and the Phillies put a hurting on them when they played. Nothing lasts forever, and maybe the Phillies are due for some wins against the Jays.

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