Roy Halladay will try to earn his major league-leading 16th victory and help the Toronto Blue Jays avert their second sweep to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in less than a week as the teams complete a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Halladay, tied with three others with 15 wins, failed to win his 16th straight decision Friday, losing 5-0 at Anaheim. He gave up a season high-tying five earned runs and nine hits over 6 2-3 innings, missing a chance to tie the American League record for consecutive victories in a season.
The loss was Halladay’s first since April 15 against the New York Yankees.
“It was fun, but the important thing for me is winning games whether it’s 15 in a row or one in a row,” said Halladay.
The Blue Jays, losers of six of eight, are on the verge of being swept by the last-place Devils Rays again after their 5-4 loss on Tuesday. Toronto dropped three straight to Tampa Bay at SkyDome last week, and is 2-9 against the Devil Rays this season.
The Devil Rays, just one win away from clinching their first season series win against the Blue Jays, will counter Halladay with Joe Kennedy.
The left-hander hasn’t won since May 13 at Toronto. He is 0-5 in eight starts, including an 0-3 mark with a 6.55 ERA in five outings since returning from a shoulder injury.
Kennedy, however, is 2-0 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Toronto this season. In 10 career starts against the Blue Jays, he is 6-0 with a 3.56 ERA— his most wins against any opponent.
Kennedy does not have a reason for his success against Toronto.
“I don’t have some special pitch that I throw to them that I don’t throw to anybody else,” Kennedy said. “I’ve just had success against them. I have more confidence knowing that I’ve gotten them out before.”
STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 3rd place, 13 1/2 GB, AL East. Devil Rays - 5th place, 25 1/2 GB, AL East.
BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Halladay (15-3, 3.42 ERA). Halladay, who is facing the Devil Rays for the first time this season, is 1-1 lifetime against Tampa Bay with a 4.58 ERA in eight games, including five starts.
DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Kennedy (3-8, 6.48 ERA). Kennedy tried to end his slide Friday, but was forced to leave his start at Kansas City after the first inning due to soreness in his upper back. He gave up five earned runs and four hits while walking three. The Devil Rays went on to win 9-6.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Delgado, .305 avg., 31 HRs, 108 RBIs and 89 runs; Bobby Kielty, 6 SBs. Devil Rays - Rocco Baldelli, .300 avg. and 63 runs; Aubrey Huff, 19 HRs and 59 RBIs; Carl Crawford, 34 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Devil Rays, 9-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - C Wilson broke out of an 0-for-13 slump with his performance on Tuesday. … 1B Delgado is batting .148 (4-for-27) in his career against LHP Kennedy with one RBI. … SS Mike Bordick had his seventh consecutive multihit game Tuesday. He also equaled a career-high 14-game hitting streak, the longest active streak in the AL. Devil Rays - 1B Travis Lee, who homered and finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs Tuesday, has driven in 12 runs in his last eight games. … The Devil Rays have won five straight series against Toronto dating to last season. … CF Baldelli has a homer and 11 RBIs against Toronto this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 31-27 on the road; Devil Rays - 24-31 at home.
INJURIES: Blue Jays - RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL.