By Greg Hall, Sports Talk Philly editor
Let's play two… in Buffalo?
The Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays are set to play a doubleheader at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, NY with game one beginning at 1:07 pm ET.
Both games will be aired on NBCSP (tv) and WIP/WTTM1680 (radio) with game one also being televised on the MLB Network.
With the new rules put in place for the shortened 60-game season, both contests will be seven innings.
Sahlen Field is normally the home of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, an affiliate of the Blue Jays, but the team had to find a new home field for 2020 given the travel restrictions caused by COVID-19.
The ballpark plays to the Phillies strength, as it has been a home run haven so far. There have been 25 home runs in the five games played there. The Phils lead the league in runs scored per game, are second in OPS, fifth in batting average, 10th in doubles per game and eighth in home runs per game.
While the Jays average more homers per contest, their other offensive statistics are at or below the middle of the pack.
Toronto's offense will also be missing it's best overall player and offensive catalyst, SS Bo Bichette, who was placed on the 10-day IL at the beginning of the week with a knee sprain. Bichette was off to a great start, hitting .361 with five home runs and 13 RBI. He's also stolen four bases.
The Blue Jays still have a lot of young talent with 1B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2B Cavan Biggio and OF Teoscar Hernandez. While Guerrero Jr. has struggled so far this season, Biggio and Hernandez have combined for 13 home runs and 26 RBI.
Streaky OF Randal Grichuk has six homers in his last six games and is hitting .344 to begin the season.
RHPs Chase Anderson (game one) and Trent Thornton (agme two) will start on the mound for the Blue Jays. The two have combined for just 10 innings across three starts, but have mostly impressed in their limited action. The pair has given up just three total runs, although they have allowed 18 baserunners.
Thornton is making his first start in almost a month due to right elbow inflammation.
The Phillies will try and silence the Toronto bats with a pair of right handers; Spencer Howard will start game one and Vince Velasquez returns to the rotation for the back end.
Howard will look to get his first major-league win after struggling in his first two starts.
Velasquez, who seemingly lost his spot in the rotation to Howard, last pitched on Aug 13 in a relief role against the Orioles.
Both starters carry a 7.88 ERA into today's games.
The offense will need to wake up after managing only three hits in a 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday, preventing the team from its first five game winning streak in over two years.
Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto have had success against Anderson, with each hitting over .400 in 12 combined at-bats.
Only Didi Gregorious has faced Thornton, but has a solo home run in two trips to the plate.
The Phillies could be over .500 for the first time this season by the end of the day.