An important two-game series between the Philadelphia Phillies (80-66, 44-31 home) and the Toronto Blue Jays (83-64, 40-32 away) begins on Tuesday with Game 1. The two teams met earlier in the year in Toronto, with the Blue Jays taking both contests.
The first pitch of the midweek series opener is at 6:45 p.m. EST at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Toronto is the current betting favorite at -120, and the over/under total is nine runs.
What to Know – Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto currently holds the top spot in the AL Wild Card, a half-game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays are second in the AL East, 5.5 games behind the leading New York Yankees.
The projected starter for the visitors is right-hander Ross Stripling (8-4, 2.94 ERA, 0.99 WHIP). The Pennsylvania native has been fantastic since moving from the bullpen to a starting role for the Blue Jays. Stripling has thrown 119.1 innings, allowing 39 earned runs on 98 hits, and 20 walks, while striking out 102 batters.
The young hitting duo of Bo Bichette and Valdimir Guerrero Jr. continue to pace a talented Toronto offensive lineup. The two sluggers, both under the age of 25, have combined to swat 53 home runs and 174 runs batted in.
Toronto is tied atop the MLB with a .261 team batting average and scoring 4.7 runs per game. The pitching staff for the Blue Jays ranks 13th in the league posting a 3.88 team earned run average.
What to Know – Philadelphia Phillies
Philadelphia has dropped their last four contests but remains in the final spot of the NL Wild Card. The Phillies hold a two-game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers with 16 games remaining in the regular season.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson (10-6, 4.45 ERA, 1.27 WHIP) gets the nod on the hill for the home squad. After a fantastic month of August, Gibson has knocked around in his first two September outings but bounced back last week with six innings of one-run ball in a victory over Miami.
For the year, Gibson has pitched 151.2 innings, surrendered 75 runs on 149 hits and 43 walks with 125 strike outs.
Kyle Schwarber leads the Phillies offense with 39 blasts and 81 RBIs. J.T. Realmuto is right behind Schwarber with 78 RBIs, and Rhys Hoskins is beginning to live up to his prospect status with 28 home runs and 71 RBIs. Bryce Harper is just 8-for-51 so far in the month of September.
The Eagles average 4.6 runs per game while sitting eighth in the majors with a .254 team batting average. Philadelphia’s pitching staff is 16th in the MLB, sporting a 3.91 team ERA.
The Pick is In
Philadelphia and Toronto take the field with postseason hopes on the line, and the short two-game series will play an important role in the layout of the playoffs. Stripling and Toronto’s offense have the edge in this one.
The Pick: Toronto Blue Jays ML