Toronto (23-14) has limited the White Sox to 11 runs and a .146 batting average during six consecutive home victories over the last two seasons. The Blue Jays shut out Chicago in two of the four home meetings in 2008.
Toronto’s starting pitching is a big reason the Blue Jays lead the AL in wins this year. The rotation has 16 victories, a 4.34 ERA and has pitched a league-high 224.0 innings.
Those numbers are all the more impressive considering injuries have forced the Blue Jays to use nine starting pitchers this season.
Cecil (1-0, 0.64 ERA) has been one of the pleasant surprises for Toronto as it’s patched together a starting staff in the early going.
Chosen 38th in the 2007 draft, Cecil was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas at the start of May. In his second major league start Sunday, the 22-year-old left-hander allowed five hits over eight innings in a 5-0 win over Oakland.
He gave up one earned run in six innings of Toronto’s 10-6 victory over Cleveland in his debut May 5.
The Blue Jays dropped the final two games of a three-game series against the Yankees, falling 3-2 on Thursday night. Toronto led 2-1 after five innings, but Jesse Carlson(notes) surrendered a go-ahead home run to Hideki Matsui(notes) in the eighth.
“(Starter Brian Tallet(notes)) gives up a couple of runs against (Yankees starter CC) Sabathia and you figure you might have a chance to win that game,” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “But we didn’t. We move on.”
Toronto will be facing a White Sox club that’s struggling badly at the plate. Chicago has lost eight of 11 and was shut out for the third time in nine games Wednesday, 4-0 by Cleveland.
The White Sox (15-18) failed to hit a home run for the fifth time in six games. They led the majors with 235 homers last season.
Chicago could get some of its power back Friday. Carlos Quentin(notes), who has a team-leading eight homers, is expected to return after being held out of the starting lineup the last two games with a sore heel.
“We are not playing the best we can right now,” left-hander Mark Buehrle(notes) told the White Sox’s official Web site. “It’s early, but we’ve been struggling the past couple of weeks and need to turn it around, try to get it going.”
The White Sox will hand the ball to John Danks(notes) (2-2, 3.41), who’s winless in his last three starts. However, the left-hander is coming off an outstanding outing, allowing one run while striking out a season-high 10 in six innings of a 3-2 victory over Texas on Saturday.
“I actually felt pretty good, but the thing is, I felt good in all of my outings, and my last two didn’t go as I totally expected,” Danks said. “To keep us in the game against a tough lineup and get a hard-fought win, for sure, that’s great.”
Danks is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA in two starts at Toronto.