Ah, the Great White North. Free health care, funny accents, polar bears and maple syrup. The Phillies went through customs last night and tonight they will open up a three-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. After winning the three-game series with the Twins, the Phillies are 31-34 and sit 9 games behind the Nationals in the NL East. They'll try to bring themselves to .500 by the end of the weekend.
Vance Worley (3-2, 3.00 ERA) will get the nod tonight as he makes his tenth start of the season. Since coming back from the DL, Worley has improved. Tonight will be his third start since coming off of the DL with elbow tenderness. In his last outing Worley yielded three runs, all of which were unearned, on four hits through 6 innings. Worley also struck out five Orioles. The Phillies would go on to lose 6-4 in extra innings thus giving Worley the no-decision. Worley has never faced the Toronto Blue Jays in his career.
The Blue Jays will send out righty Drew Hutchinson (5-3, 4.66 ERA) in an effort to take the series opener. Hutchinson is making his eleventh start of the season tonight as he comes off of a losing effort. In his last outing, against the Braves, Hutchinson was rocked around allowing five earned runs on seven hits while striking out seven. Hutchinson can be wild around the zone, he has a 48/19 K/BB ratio and has a 1.34 WHIP this season. Hutchinson has never faced the Phillies in his career.
Jim Thome will keep on DH-ing tonight as he is on fire. In six games as a DH, Thome is batting 11-for-24 (.458) with 13 RBIs and three home runs. Thome said he's just taking advantage of good opportunities.
"You never know when those moments are going to keep coming, and you cherish them," Thome said. "The position I've been in, it means a lot."
Great opportunities indeed, Jim. But it's hard to say what will happen to Thome once the Phillies end Interleague Play. Charlie Manuel has already stated that Thome won't play the field and will be used off the bench. It's great talent going to waste.
Let's enjoy it while he can still DH.
Tonight's Lineup @ Toronto:
1. Rollins, SS
2. Pierre, LF
3. Pence, RF
4. Thome, DH
5. Victorino, CF
6. Ruiz, C
7. Wigginton, 1B
8. Fontenot, 3B
9. Martinez, 2B
TV: CSN ; Radio: 1210 WPHT, 94 WIP
Follow Erik on Twitter @ErikSeyboldPHI.