Looking to end a season-worst five-game losing streak, the Toronto Blue Jays will have the right person on the mound Friday in ace Roy Halladay—hardly a pitcher the struggling Chicago White Sox want to see.
Halladay looks to win his fifth straight decision and get his team back on track when the Blue Jays and White Sox open a three-game series at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays (57-51) fell 8-1 to the New York Yankees on Thursday, continuing a skid that has dropped them 8 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East and 7 1/2 behind in the wild-card race. Former Blue Jay Corey Lidle allowed four hits in six innings against Toronto, which managed four runs in the three-game series.
Toronto, which will be trying to avoid its first six-game losing streak since July 9-18, 2004, went 2-8 on a 10-game road trip through Seattle, Oakland and New York.
“We’re a bunch of pretty tired guys right now,” Toronto catcher Gregg Zaun said. “We need to go home and regroup.”
The Jays hope their ace can continue his winning ways as they look to get back on track. Halladay (13-2, 3.04 ERA) is unbeaten in his last eight starts, posting a 3.23 ERA in that span. On Friday, he’ll be looking to defeat the only AL team he hasn’t beaten at least three times, as he’s 1-1 with a 3.40 ERA in eight games—five starts—against Chicago.
Halladay hasn’t faced the White Sox since May 1, 2004.
Toronto didn’t win Halladay’s last start, a 6-5 defeat at Oakland on Sunday, but the right-hander gave up only two earned runs in 6 2-3 innings and will be facing a White Sox club that is playing some of its worst baseball of the season. Chicago (63-43) lost 7-3 to Kansas City on Wednesday night and has dropped 14 of its last 21.
The White Sox are one-half game behind Boston in the wild-card race and face a major task in trying to catch Detroit in the AL Central. Chicago is eight games behind the first-place Tigers.
While the Blue Jays will send a hot pitcher to the mound, the White Sox will counter with Jon Garland (11-3, 5.01), winner of seven consecutive decisions.
The right-hander has lowered his ERA from 6.19 since his last loss June 8 to Detroit. Garland, though, had a rough outing Saturday, giving up six runs and 11 hits in five innings but managing to earn the win in a 13-11 victory.
Garland had allowed four total runs in his previous four starts.
“I give him a lot of credit because he’s got some cold,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said. “(He had) been sick the past few days.”
The right-hander is 7-2 with a 4.16 ERA in 13 games—11 starts—against the Blue Jays. He beat Toronto on May 28 at Rogers Centre, giving up five runs in six innings of a 7-5 victory.
“One way or another, you have to get it done and you have to bring your ‘A’ game,” Garland said of facing Halladay. “If you are in the bullpen and don’t have your stuff, you have to find a way. You know he’s going to go out there and give his team quality innings and make quality pitches.
“But if you start getting away from what you need to do, it will turn out for the worse. If I don’t make quality pitches, I will get hit around the yard.”
This series features a matchup of the top two hitting teams in baseball. The Blue Jays’ .291 average is the best in the major leagues, while the White Sox are second at .286.
Chicago has homered in 12 straight games and 19 of 20, hitting 37 since July 21, despite Jim Thome missing the last four games due to wrist tendinitis and back spasms. Thome and Paul Konerko, who sat out Wednesday with a bruised elbow, are expected to return Friday.
While Thome has 33 homers and Konerko has 26, White Sox right fielder Jermaine Dye has reached 30 by homering in five of his last seven games. He has 11 RBIs in that span.
Chicago and Toronto have split six games this season, but the White Sox have won 14 of the last 23 meetings.