Against the Cleveland Indians this season, though, they’ve barely scored at all.
Halladay will be on the hill for Toronto on Saturday as it looks to finally get its offense going against Cleveland in the middle contest of a three-game set at Rogers Centre.
After plating 21 runs during a four-game sweep of Oakland, the Blue Jays (59-57) entered this series on a roll.
With the Indians (50-64) in town, though, the Jays took a step back. Toronto, which scored four total runs while losing three of four to Cleveland from May 9-12, could do little against Indians pitching in Friday’s 5-2 loss.
“As far as getting some key hits, we weren’t able to do that tonight,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston told the team’s official Web site. “We just need to suck this one up, move on to (Saturday), and see what happens then.”
The Blue Jays have only five extra-base hits in their five games versus the Indians in 2008.
They didn’t need much offense on Monday when Halladay (13-8, 2.77 ERA) was pitching. The right-hander allowed one run over eight innings while striking out eight in a 6-1 win over Oakland.
Halladay improved to 5-2 with an AL-best 2.00 ERA since June 30.
“He’s really something to watch,” Gaston said. “It’s really my pleasure to be able to manage a guy like (Roy), because there’s not much management to it. It’s just pretty much put him out there and let him go and leave him alone.”
It was the 11th time this season Halladay has pitched at least eight innings. He leads the AL with seven complete games, and has gone the distance a major-league high 33 times since 2003, 11 more than Livan Hernandez’s 22.
Halladay is 5-1 with a 4.04 ERA in 10 career starts versus the Indians, but he suffered the lone loss May 9, when he allowed four runs over six innings of a 6-1 defeat.
While Halladay has been good, on Saturday he faces the AL’s best pitcher since the All-Star break. Cleveland’s Paul Byrd (6-10, 4.72) was 3-10 with a 5.47 ERA at the break, but has won his three starts since while posting an AL-best 0.90 ERA.
Byrd gave up one run over seven innings last Saturday in a 5-1 win at Minnesota.
“This is a couple outings in a row where he’s had command of all his pitches,” catcher Kelly Shoppach told the Indians’ official Web site.
Byrd’s last visit to Rogers Centre was one of his better performances in recent memory, even though he picked up a loss. He went 8 1-3 innings on July 8, 2007, allowing one run on four hits in the Indians’ 1-0 defeat.
One player Byrd won’t have to worry about is Scott Rolen. The Blue Jays third baseman, who has seven RBIs in his last six games, will sit out Saturday to rest his sore left shoulder.
The Indians are trying to win consecutive games for the first time since a three-game winning streak July 19-21.