Roy Halladay will try to become the first four-game winner in the American League and prevent the Toronto Blue Jays from getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre.
After winning 41 games in 2002-03, Halladay took a step backward during an injury-filled season in 2004, going 8-8 with a 4.20 ERA.
While it’s only been four starts, Halladay has looked every bit like an ace in the first month of the season. He is among the AL leaders in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts, and the Blue Jays have won all four of his starts.
Halladay limited Boston to three runs and four hits in eight innings in a 4-3 victory at Fenway Park on Tuesday.
Toronto could use a strong performance from its top starter as it tries to end a four-game losing streak and get back to .500.
“We’re just in a little bit of a rut right now,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “We’ll bounce back.”
Gibbons said his team is looking forward to a day off on Monday after playing 17 games in 17 days.
“Think about our schedule. We started in Tampa Bay then came home for three days. That was like a road trip,” he said. “Then we criss-crossed the country, Oakland, Texas and Boston. We got into Boston at midnight and played an 11 a.m. game. The guys are tired. I’m tired.”
Since getting shut out in back-to-back games by Boston, Baltimore bounced back with 17 runs to win the first two games of this series.
Sidney Ponson starts for the Orioles after getting legal clearance to enter Canada.
Until Friday, the Orioles weren’t sure if Ponson would get appoval for a special permit that would allow him to pitch in Toronto. He had trouble obtaining a work visa because of his involvement in two court cases. Ponson spent 11 days in an Aruban jail after punching a judge in a Christmas Day brawl, and was arrested in Florida less than a month later for driving under the influence of alcohol.
“We’re just glad it’s all resolved, and we’ll go from here,” Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli said. “I think the ballclub worked very hard at getting this done.”