It was a tough day for the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. They built up a 5-0 lead but watched it evaporate and turn into an 8-6 loss. Ouch. That’s a hard one to digest for a team who is competing to get to the postseason. The Braves and the rest of the teams in the National League contending for a wildcard didn’t mind it. With another loss for the Phillies, the Braves are putting themselves firmly in the driver’s seat in the National League East.
Kendrys Morales smacked his 6th long ball in six straight games to lead the Jays. It tied a franchise record and he will have a chance to break it this afternoon against the Phillies. The Blue Jays have been showing some fight after the Yankees embarrassed them by a score of 10-2.
The Jays are showing some life for their skipper, John Gibbons. Gibbons was visibly frustrated after their effort against the Yankees. It came to a head when Kevin Pillar tried stealing 3rd base with 2 outs and down by 4 runs. There wasn’t any reason for it and Gibbons let him know.
Gibbons is probably gone at the end of this season, for better or worse. Management is going to likely want to start with a clean slate for the youth movement arriving in Toronto. This season isn’t necessarily his fault. What do the Blue Jays have on their roster that could carry them to the postseason? It’s also incredibly difficult to go anywhere when Stroman isn’t pitching like an ace of the club. For the Phils, they desperately need to stop the bleeding in Canada this afternoon. They’re hoping the last few days may be one final rut before they hit a hot streak and go on a run. Get our free Phillies vs. Blue Jays pick for Sunday afternoon below.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Vince Velasquez (8-9, 4.06 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (7-9, 4.88 ERA)
Estrada is another guy that Gibbons has had no control over. He can’t help that Stroman and Estrada have ERA’s over the 4.00 mark. Estrada enters Sunday with an ERA of 4.88 and 1.30 WHIP. Following a hot 2015 where he posted a 3.13 ERA, he’s been tailing off ever since. Not that 2016 was bad either, he had a respectable ERA of 3.48 in 2017. After that, though, the Jays were left wondering what happened.
Estrada made 33 starts for an ERA of 4.98 a year ago. He’s had a similar season in 2018, with an ERA of 4.88 heading into Sunday. Estrada has been slightly worse at home, posting a 4.91 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. The Phillies are hitting .306 with 4 long balls in 36 at-bats against Estrada. That’s a homer in 11% of their at-bats against him. Asdrubal Cabrera is responsible for two of them.
Vince Valesquez hits the bump at Rogers Centre where he should feel more comfortable than at Citizens Bank Park. Valesquez has been less than stellar at home with an ERA of 5.02. That is opposed to a 2.97 ERA on the road in 57.2 innings of work. In 21 at-bats, the Blue Jays have just 3 hits on Valesquez for a .143 batting average. Morales is the only hitter that has had success, which any pitcher would be wise to work around with how hot his bat is right now. The Blue Jays have had some success this weekend, but I think the Phillies block a sweep and get out of Toronto with one win.