The Phils were once sitting pretty at 24-17. But the bottom has since dropped out and the club has gone 5-18 since and now sit 5 games under .500. The Blue Jays on the other hand have gone the opposite direction. Since their 19-23 start, the Jays’ have won 16 of their last 23. Winning games in this home-and-home series will be a tall task for the struggling Phils.
Monday: 7:07 pm EST – Rogers Centre
Is there anyone out there that likes Mondays? We know a certain group of people that doesn’t like them, and that would be our Fightins’. They’ll loo to get off of the Monday schneid – so far 0-8.
Jerad Eickhoff will look to build off his best start of the year his last time out against the Cubs going 7 innings with just 2 hits and 8 Ks. As we all know with knuckle-baller R.A. Dickey, he’s either unhittable or can be really off his game. Last July, he was able to shut down the Phillies bats – going 8 innings without surrendering an earned run. Meanwhile this past Friday, Pete Mackanin named Tommy Joseph the full-time first baseman from here on out, replacing the struggling Ryan Howard. Joseph is hitting .375 in June. Still, with the first two games of this four game set in Toronto, we’ll likely see Howard in the DH slot.
Tuesday: 12:37 pm EST – Rogers Centre
Zach Eflin will make his major league debut for the Phillies on Tuesday afternoon and will be opposed by Marcus Stroman. The Phillies acquired Eflin (among others) for Jimmy Rollins from the Dodgers back in December of 2014. This season Elfin has sported a 5-2 mark for the Iron Pigs with an impressive 2.90 ERA. Even more impressive, hitters could only manage a .197 average off Eflin and his WHIP was 0.88. With the injury to Vincent Velasquez, Eflin will get his shot at a permanent place in the Phils rotation. If he pitches well, it would allow the Phils to take their time with Velasquez or perhaps bump Adam Morgan out of the rotation when Velasquez is ready. It will be a tough task as he’ll have to tame Joey Bats, Josh Donaldson, and company who are fifth in the majors with 83 home runs.
Wednesday: 7:05 pm EST – Citizens Bank Park
The four game set will shift to South Philadelphia on Wednesday night with Jeremy Hellickson and Marco Estrada getting the call. Hellickson is looking to bounce back after two sub-par outings. In the month of June, Hellickson’s ERA is a horrific 8.18. However, in his four prior starts, Hellickson was excellent as he pitched 27 innings and only allowed six earned runs. Let’s hope we see the good Hellickson on Wednesday.
The anemic Phils offense will have a tough task against the Jays’ top pitcher, Marco Estrada. Estrada has only allowed 48 hits in 80.2 innings. Although Pete Mackanin said Tommy Joseph has the full-time gig at first, Ryan Howard does have Estrada in his book and his hitting .364, mostly from his days pitching for the Brewers.
Thursday: 7:05 pm EST – Citizens Bank Park
The series concludes on Thursday with Aaron Nola taking on ex-Phillie J.A. Happ. Happ signed a free agent contract with the Blue Jays in the off-season for 3 years, $36 million. His ERA is a bit misleading as he’s allowed three earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 starts this season.
Nola will look to rebound after his short outing vs. the Nationals this past weekend, lasting just 3.2 innings. To make matters worse, Nola’s home ERA is a run-and-a-half higher than his road ERA. That stat certainly doesn’t mix well with the Jays’ powerful offense.