#1 TORONTO — The Philadelphia von laiyongcai92 17.01.2019 09:07

Phillies need a victory Sunday afternoon against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.They need the win to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic-steven-souza-jersey , who are dawdling in fourth place in the American League East.More important, they must reverse a recent trend that threatens their playoff hopes.Article continues below ...They let a 5-0 lead get away Saturday afternoon and lost 8-6 to the Blue Jays on a three-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning by Aledmys Diaz.The Phillies, who entered Saturday three games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East, have lost six of their past seven games.“We’re still in a good position to strike,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.The Blue Jays have won five in a row for the first time this season and hold a 4-1 lead in the season series against the Phillies.The Phillies (69-60) will start right-hander Vince Velasquez (8-9, 4.06 ERA) Sunday and the Blue Jays (60-69) will counter with right-hander Marco Estrada (7-9, 4.88).Velasquez has never faced the Blue Jays in the regular season, although he has pitched against them in spring training.Estrada has not pitched against the Phillies in the regular season this year Chris Archer Jersey , but in 11 career games (five starts) against them he is 2-1 with a 5.45 ERA.The Phillies have struggled on the road this season, going 28-48 (41-21 at home) and 5-14 in their past 19 games.“I think we maintain the same poise that we have in rough stretches all season,” Kapler said. “I think we’ve had stretches similar to this one. This one has been undoubtedly difficult. but we want to remind our guys how tough we are and how resilient we are, how teams have rough stretches and this by no means does this mean we don’t have the ability to win the National League East.“I think one of the things that we can focus on is the reason this one may be a little bit more challenging is because it takes more energy to be resilient when you’re closer to the end. So it just means that we’re going to need to dig real deep and get that last drop of energy. I believe we have it in us.”While Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was 0-for-3 with a walk Saturday to end his hitting streak at 12 games, the home run streak of Kendrys Morales is alive. He has hit home runs in six consecutive games (for a total of seven) that matches the club record set in 2001 by Jose Cruz Jr.The streak by Morales equals the longest in the majors this season set by Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals on July 14-21.Morales also has a nine-game hitting streak. His batting is .516 (16-for-31) with seven homers and 13 RBIs.“He’s been on a nice little roll now for a while, a good while,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Early in the year, he was chasing a lot of breaking balls Kevin Kiermaier Jersey , off-speed pitches down in the dirt, down in the zone — that’s what was getting him into trouble. He’s laying off those now and he’s even hitting breaking balls.”Outfielder Billy McKinney hit a two-run homer Saturday and has three homers in his first seven games from the Blue Jays after being called up from Triple-A Buffalo. He was part of the deal that sent left-hander J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees on July 26.McKinney is the first player to combine three homers and nine RBIs in his first seven games with the Blue Jays. Seven others have hit three or more homers in their first seven games with Toronto and Dave Martinez had nine RBIs in his first seven games with the Blue Jays in 2000. A doubleheader Saturday at Camden Yards is not an ideal scenario for the Houston Astros.The defending World Series champions are steamrolling their way into the postseason and do not need any injuries or pitching issues to get in the way in their quest to win the title again.Nonetheless, Houston and Baltimore will play a single-admission doubleheader after the game Thursday was postponed because of rain. The nightcap will begin 30 minutes after the conclusion of the opener.Article continues below ...Houston took the opener 2-1 on Friday. The Astros clinched their second straight AL West title on Tuesday. The Astros open a best-of-five Division Series matchup against Cleveland at home on Oct. 5.Houston manager AJ Hinch wants to make sure his players don’t get complacent against the hapless Orioles. “I have stressed to them not to get sloppy,” Hinch said. “You don’t want to play like it’s spring training, then have to go back into playoff mode.”As a result, the series in Baltimore will simply be a tuneup for the postseason. Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.60 ERA) will start the first game Saturday, looking to boost his chances for the 2018 American League Cy Young Award.Verlander has a career-high 280 strikeouts and will likely add to the total against the struggling Orioles. Verlander is 10-5 with a 3.75 ERA in 20 starts against Baltimore. “He’s had some pretty good ones as an Astro http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic-alex-cobb-jersey ,” Hinch said. “When he comes out and sets that kind of tone and gets those swings and misses and the strikeouts, it’s a pretty special day for us.”Dallas Keuchel (12-11, 2.75 ERA) has already set a career high with 272 strikeouts. The left-hander is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA with 65 strikeouts in his last seven starts.In Keuchel’s last outing against Toronto, he picked up his first win since Sept. 3, (12-11) allowing three runs and seven hits in five innings. He also amassed more than 200 innings in a season for the third time in his career.“It means more to me now than it did the first time,” Keuchel said, alluding to the Astros’ stellar run during the past two years.Keuchel is 3-2 with 2.80 ERA in seven starts against the Orioles. Meanwhile, Baltimore is on course to endure the worst season in franchise history The biggest question facing the Orioles during this final weekend of the season is whether manager Buck Showalter will return to the club in 2019. He was not worried about the uncertainty or expects anyone from the front office to update his status until the final pitch Sunday. “I’ve got a contract through the end of October Wade Boggs Jersey , so nobody needs to or has to do that,” Showalter said. “There’s a lot of people in this world like that. Who am I? I mean, really? Is it that important? No.”For Baltimore, Dylan Bundy will start the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader and Yefry Ramírez will start the nightcap. Bundy (8-16, 5.49 ERA) has struggled in the second half of the season. Ramirez (1-7, 6.07 ERA) is trying to make his case to be part of the rotation in 2019. Nonetheless, both pitchers will play a part in the Orioles’ rebuild. “I think in today’s game a lot depends on how quick the young pitching comes,” Showalter said. “You look at what separates the Houstons. You talk about all the things they do on the field and the good position players http://www.raysfanproshop.com/authentic-wilson-ramos-jersey , but you’ve got three guys throwing 200 innings, it lets you do a lot of things with your bullpen that other people can’t do.“You try to do it as fast as you can, but you’ve got to do it with your nose down and grind each day and you might be surprised where you stand when those days are behind you.”

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