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Phillies, Aaron Nola vie for home-and-home sweep of Blue Jays

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Philadelphia Phillies (12-15-4) right-hander Aaron Nola will make his sixth and final spring start in opposition of expected Opening Day starter RHP Marco Estrada and the Toronto Blue Jays (10-17-2) Tuesday evening at Spectrum Field.

Over their last three games, the Phillies are (2-0-1) and have scored 5.33 runs and 13 hits per contest. Their offense routed Toronto in the 7-1 victory Monday at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph led the way with a four-hit, two-RBI performance and was just a triple shy of the cycle. The Blue Jays offense, however, ranks second-to-last in team batting average, .238.

Starting Pitching Matchup:

Toronto Blue Jays (10-17-2) Philadelphia Phillies (12-15-4)
RHP Marco Estrada RHP Aaron Nola
(2016: 9-9, 3.48 ERA) (2016: 6-9, 4.78 ERA)

Through four starts this spring, Estrada, 33, is 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA and 0.692 WHIP ratio. On March 17 against Nola and the Phillies, Estrada allowed only one hit — a three-run home run to left fielder Howie Kendrick, the veteran's first and only long ball so far this Grapefruit League season.


Nola, 23, previously faced the Blue Jays on March 2 and March 17, where in a combined 6 2/3 innings he surrendered four runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts.

 Starting Lineups:

Toronto Blue Jays (10-17-2) Philadelphia Phillies (12-15-4)
  Position Player Bats   Position Player Bats
1 2B Devon Travis R 1 2B Cesar Hernandez S
2 3B Josh Donaldson R 2 SS Freddy Galvis S
3 RF Jose Bautista R 3 CF Odubel Herrera L
4 DH Kendrys Morales S 4 LF Howie Kendrick R
5 SS Troy Tulowitzki R 5 1B Brock Stassi L
6 C Russell Martin R 6 RF Daniel Nava S
7 1B Steve Pearce R 7 C Andrew Knapp S
8 LF Melvin Upton Jr. R 8 3B Andres Blanco S
9 CF Kevin Pillar R 9 P Aaron Nola R

^ non-roster invitee

Broadcast Information:

  • First pitch: 6:35 p.m.
  • TV: N/A
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

Game Notes:

  • According to's Jim Salisbury, Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez is the probable starter for the club's home opener on Friday, April 7, against the Washington Nationals. In his final spring start on Monday, the right-hander allowed only one run — a home run to opposing catcher Russell Martin — and struck out seven batters in five innings. Salisbury writes: "[Velasquez] will need to get some work in this weekend. The Phillies leave Florida on Friday. He could stay behind for a day and pitch at the minor-league complex if needed."
  • This spring, Phillies pitching has limited opposing hitters to a .249 batting average. Only the pitching staffs of the New York Yankees (.218), Washington Nationals (.239) and St. Louis Cardinals (.247) have fared better.
  • On Monday, ESPN gave the Phillies 100-1 odds to win the World Series with a projected last-place National League East record of 67-95 (.414).

What's Next:

  • Wednesday, March 29, 2017: at Detroit Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
    • Joker Marchant Stadium (Lakeland)
    • RHP Luis Garcia (2016: 1-1, 6.46 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Verlander (2016: 16-9, 3.04 ERA)
    • TV: MLBN; Radio: WXYT 1270
  • Wednesday, March 29, 2017: at Pittsburgh Pirates, 1:05 p.m.
    • LECOM Park (Bradenton)
    • LHP Joely Rodriguez (2016: 0-0, 2.79 ERA) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (2016: 7-10, 3.88 ERA)
    • TV: ROOTPIT; Radio: N/A


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