Roy Halladay’s improbable winning streak is beginning to reach historic heights.
Halladay looks to become the first pitcher in six years to win 12 straight starts when the Toronto Blue Jays host the Montreal Expos in the opener of the second interleague series between the Canadian rivals in a week.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his career, Halladay won his 11th straight start with Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Expos. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed two unearned runs and four hits, while striking out six and walking none, over eight innings.
“When you feel like things are working, you want to get out there as soon as you can,” Halladay said of the short turnaround between outings. “It was nice to get out there, and it felt like everything was where it should be.”
Despite opening the season 0-2 with a 4.89 ERA over his first six starts, Halladay is on the verge of becoming the first pitcher since Minnesota’s Brad Radke in 1997 to win 12 straight starts.
However, Halladay, who won a career-high 19 games last season, is still four victories shy of tying the longest winning streak in club history.
In 1998, Roger Clemens won a franchise-record 15 straight decisions en route to winning the fifth of his record six Cy Young Awards.
Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca, who pitched Halladay on three days’ rest because he is pondering the use of a four-man rotation, believes his ace possesses some of the same attributes as The Rocket.
”(Halladay) just keeps rolling along,” Tosca said. “He’s a big strong horse. He’s having a phenomenal year for us and we got a real find in this guy because whatever we ask him to do, he’s able to do it.”
Delgado increased his major league-leading home run total to 25 and tied his season high with five RBIs. He leads the league with 86 RBIs.
A two-time AL MVP, Gonzalez has until Saturday morning to make a decision on waiving his no-trade clause.
“I know Juan. He’s a great guy and we hope he comes here,” Expos right-hander Javier Vazquez said. “He’s a bat that we need but we understand his situation, too—he’s at home in Texas.”
STANDINGS: Expos - 2nd place, 7 GB, NL East. Blue Jays - 3rd place, 3 GB, AL East.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Livan Hernandez (6-6, 4.03 ERA). Hernandez has allowed a combined 10 runs and 17 hits over 10 2-3 innings in his last two starts. The right-hander surrendered four runs and nine hits, while striking out six and walking one, over six innings during Sunday’s loss to the Blue Jays, his only career appearance against Toronto.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Halladay (11-2, 3.57 ERA). Opponents are hitting .260 and have an on-base percentage of .294 against Halladay, who has struck out 96 and walked 17 in 121 innings this season. He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four career appearances, including two starts, against the Expos.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Expos - Jose Vidro, .327 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 11 HRs, 44 RBIs and 51 runs; Endy Chavez, 13 SBs. Blue Jays - Delgado, .313 avg., 25 HRs, 86 RBIs and 67 runs; Orlando Hudson, 4 SBs.
INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Expos - 8-7; Blue Jays - 9-7.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Expos - RHP Luis Ayala was placed on the 15-day DL Wednesday—retroactive to June 22—because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Montreal recalled RHP Tim Drew from Triple-A Edmonton to replace Ayala. … The Expos are expected to send as many as three prospects to Texas if OF Gonzalez accepts the trade. … Expos starters have issued only 10 walks over the last 55 1-3 innings. Blue Jays - 3B Eric Hinske, activated from the DL before Thursday’s game, made two errors Thursday, leading to four unearned runs, and went 0-for-5. … OF Vernon Wells had three hits Thursday to stretch his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games. He is batting .385 (30-for-78) during the streak with seven homers, 19 RBIs and 20 runs scored. … The Blue Jays have won 18 of their last 24 at home.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Expos - 17-21 on the road; Blue Jays - 21-17 at home.
INJURIES: Expos - RHP Ayala (shoulder), day-to-day; 3B Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; OF Vladimir Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL. Blue Jays - RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL.