Halladay looks to win his fourth straight start when he takes the mound against one of his favorite opponents as the Blue Jays and Orioles wrap up their three-game series on Sunday.
Halladay (14-5, 3.99 ERA) pitched his major league-leading fifth complete game Tuesday, when he limited the Los Angeles Angels to four hits, walked none and struck out two in a 4-1 victory. The Blue Jays (62-60) ace is 4-1 with a 2.54 ERA and three complete games in his last five starts.
“I don’t think he can get any better,” Gibbons told the team’s official Web site. “He was outstanding. He just attacked the zone and got ground ball after ground ball.”
The 2003 AL Cy Young Award winner is 14-4 with a 2.92 ERA in 23 games - 19 starts - lifetime against Baltimore - his most wins against any opponent. He has yet to face the Orioles (57-64) in 2007, but went 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in four starts against them last season.
Halladay is a major league-best 10-1 with a 3.36 ERA in 13 home games this season. The right-hander has won each of his last seven starts at Rogers Centre, posting a 2.94 ERA in that span.
After a 5-2 victory in Friday night’s series opener, Toronto lost to the Orioles 5-3 on Saturday - its first home defeat to Baltimore in six games.
Blue Jays outfielder Matt Stairs hit a solo home run in Saturday’s defeat, and is batting .455 (10-for-22) with seven doubles in his last nine games. Stairs is 2-for-4 with a homer lifetime against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie (7-4, 3.50), who looks to break out of his August slump when he starts Sunday.
After posting a 1.89 ERA in his final three starts of July, Guthrie is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in three outings this month. The rookie right-hander was tagged for six runs and nine hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 7-6 loss to the New York Yankees on Monday, but was not charged with the decision.
“I didn’t execute a couple of pitches, but I actually felt as good as I’ve felt in a long time,” Guthrie told the Orioles’ official Web site. “I’m not overly concerned. Concerned would be if I was wild or didn’t have my stuff, but I know it’s there. I just have to figure out what I need to do.”
Guthrie remains 5-0 on the road this season in 15 games - 10 starts - but his ERA away from Camden Yards rose from 2.70 to 3.25 with his outing at Yankee Stadium.
In his only career start against the Blue Jays, Guthrie allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings of a 5-4, 10-inning loss on May 24.
Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada was hitless in four at-bats Saturday, snapping his season-high 11-game hitting streak. He’ll try to bounce back against Halladay, against whom he is batting .320 (16-for-50) with three home runs and two doubles lifetime.