The Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays will bring some hot bats with them when they play a doubleheader Thursday afternoon in Buffalo.
The Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles with a 5-2 victory Wednesday on the strength of two home runs by Randal Grichuk, a solo shot and two-run blast.
The Blue Jays center fielder now has six homers for the season, all in the past six games. He has homered in four straight games for the second time in his career, and he drove in 11 runs in the three games against the Orioles. Only Josh Phelps with 13 against the Seattle Mariners in 2004 has had more RBIs in a three-game series in franchise history.
“I’m hitting the ball in the air but I’m still driving it,” Grichuk said recently. “Things are working. What I’m working on is heading in the right direction, so I’ll try to keep doing that.”
Grichuk was moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup to replace Bo Bichette, who was put on the injured list Sunday due to a knee injury. On Wednesday, Grichuk batted fourth.
The Phillies had their four-game winning streak end Wednesday afternoon with a 6-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
Philadelphia had scored at least six runs in each of the four wins and entered play Wednesday averaging 5.72 runs per game, the most in the major leagues. The Phillies were held to three hits Wednesday. They did accept six walks, but they struck out 12 times.
“We’ve got a good team and we’ve got a good lineup,” said Philadelphia outfielder Bryce Harper, who was 0-for-3 with a walk Wednesday. “When we’re hitting on all cylinders, we’re a pretty tough team to get out.”
Right-handers Chase Anderson (0-0, 3.00 ERA) and Trent Thornton (0-0, 2.25) will be the Blue Jays’ starters on Thursday.
The Phillies will start right-handers Spencer Howard (0-1, 7.88 ERA) and Vince Velasquez (0-0, 7.88).
Each game is scheduled for seven innings.
“Playing 14 innings is better than playing 18 for sure,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, whose team is in the midst of a stretch of 28 games in 27 days. “That helps a lot.”
Anderson will make his third start of the season in Game 1 after opening on the injured list with an oblique strain. He has pitched a total of six innings over the two starts. Anderson is 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in six career starts against the Phillies.
Thornton made one start this season — allowing one run and eight hits in four innings against the Washington Nationals on July 27 — before going on the IL due to elbow inflammation. This is his first outing since. He has never faced the Phillies in the regular season.
Howard, who was removed from his Friday start after 3 1/3 innings with a finger blister, will start Game 1 on Thursday. In two appearances this season, the 24-year-old rookie has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 14 hits in eight innings.
Velasquez will be making his fourth appearance of the season and his third start. He has faced the Blue Jays once in his career, in 2018, and he earned the win after allowing two runs and three hits in five innings.
The doubleheader will be the third and fourth games of a 10-game road trip for the Phillies. Philadelphia will open a three-game series at Atlanta on Friday, the same day Toronto kicks off a four-game set at Tampa Bay.
–Field Level Media