Halladay looks to win his third straight start for the first time this season as the Blue Jays continue their three-game series at Ameriquest Field.
In his last start against the Rangers, Halladay (10-2, 3.22 ERA) suffered a season-ending injury at Ameriquest Field on July 8, when he was hit by a line drive off the bat of Kevin Mench in the third inning of his last start before the All-Star Game, fracturing his left tibia.
The injury brought an abrupt end to what was an impressive season as Halladay was 12-4 with a 2.41 ERA, but the right-hander has been impressive in 2006 and was rewarded with his fourth All-Star selection Sunday.
Halladay allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings in an 8-4 victory Thursday, and the Blue Jays (46-36) are 13-3 when he starts. Thursday’s win gave Halladay 10 for the season, and the 2003 AL Cy Young award winner has reached double figures in wins four of the last five seasons.
But Halladay has struggled against the Rangers, going 3-4 with a 6.40 ERA in 13 career games against Texas, and the Blue Jays are just 3-10 in those games.
Halladay has not won three straight starts since winning five in a row from May 10-June 3, 2005.
The Blue Jays lost 6-1 on Monday, and have lost consecutive games after winning a season-high five in a row. It’s the first time they’ve lost back-to-back games since losing three in a row June 10-12 .
Vernon Wells returned to the lineup Monday after missing two games with a pulled left hamstring and went 2-for-4 with a double. Wells, who was named an All-Star for the second time, is batting .333 (31-for-93) with 13 RBIs in his last 22 games against the Rangers.
Third-place Toronto trails Boston by five games in the AL East, and is just one game behind the second-place New York Yankees.
“We’re trying to catch Boston,” said Blue Jays pitcher Ted Lilly, Monday’s losing pitcher. “We’ve got to go out and win every night.”
The Blue Jays are 10-16 all-time on July 4, and have lost an AL-high three in a row on Independence Day.
While Toronto has struggled on July 4, the Rangers (41-42) have won an AL-best six straight games on Independence Day.
Texas has won five consecutive home games and 18 of its last 22 at Ameriquest Field over the Blue Jays.
The Rangers had been outscored 32-13 in their last seven games before Monday.
“That’s the kind of game we need to play every night,” catcher Gerald Laird said. “Just score some runs and pitch well.”
Texas, which won for just the second time in its last nine games, trails first-place Oakland by 1 1/2 games in the AL West.
All-Star Michael Young hit two doubles on Monday, giving him a major league-leading 30, and is 8-for-21 (.381) lifetime against Halladay.
John Koronka (6-4, 4.79) looks to win his third straight decision as he takes the mound Tuesday. Koronka, who turned 26 years old Monday, gave up one run and four hits in six innings in a 2-1 loss to San Francisco on Thursday, but did not factor in the decision. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 3.31 ERA in his last three starts.
Koronka allowed four runs in six innings in his only career start against the Blue Jays, a 4-1 loss on June 6, 2005, as a member of the Chicago Cubs in his second major league start.