Blue Jays vs. Phillies

Blue Jays vs. Phillies – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on September 18, 2020

Teams that finish second in their respective divisions this season are guaranteed a spot in the expanded playoff field. That’s what both the Philadelphia Phillies (NL East) and Toronto Blue Jays (AL East) are playing for when they open a weekend series Friday from the City of Brotherly Love. Here’s a look at the pitching matchup for Game 1 in which Toronto is the “home” team because it’s a makeup game.

How to Bet Phillies at Blue Jays MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Game 1, Friday, 4:05 PM ET
  • Where: Citizens Bank Park
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): Zach Eflin/Robbie Ray
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings, MLB Network (out of market)
  • Stream/gameday audio:
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet on Philadelphia? | 2020 MLB Expert AnalysisWill the Phils have All-Star catcher JT Realmuto for this game/series? Realmuto was out of the Phillies’ lineup again on Thursday. Realmuto has been sidelined since Saturday because of a hip flexor strain, but it’s believed to be relatively mild and the hope is that he can return to action at some point this weekend.The Phillies’ catching depth took a hit even before Realmuto’s injury. Deivy Grullon, who hit 42 homers and drove in 136 runs the previous two seasons at Double A and Triple A, was designated for assignment two weeks ago and claimed on waivers by Boston.Philly needs Realmuto as their offense is in a funk at the worst possible time.“It’s always frustrating when you don’t score runs,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I think it would be inhuman not to be frustrated, but obviously we’re still in a sense in control of our own destiny to get to the playoffs. And our guys can’t forget that. We won’t forget that. We’ve been here before where we haven’t played so well and we bounced back and played really well and that’s what we need to do.”Another issue is the bullpen, which as of Thursday has a 7.05 ERA, which is the highest in Major League Baseball and the second highest (behind the 1930 Phils’ 8.15 ERA) for any bullpen in big league history. That unit has blown a three-run lead a whopping nine times this season. The Phils lost six of those.On the bright side, Roman Quinn has stolen 17 straight bases without being caught. He was last caught stealing on Sept. 29, 2018 vs Atlanta. The last Phillie with a longer streak of stolen bases without being caught was Chase Utley, who swiped 21 consecutive bases without being caught in 2010-11.It’s scheduled to be Zach Eflin (2-2) on the mound in Game 1 on Friday. Eflin gave up four runs on eight hits in four innings last Sunday in a loss to the Marlins in the second game of a doubleheader.  Eflin started off poorly, allowing the first five batters to reach base in the first inning. He settled in after giving up three runs in the first, but the Phillies couldn’t get him off the hook.Eflin has now allowed 16 hits over his last two starts while going just nine combined innings in those outings. The 26-year-old also put two on via walk, and he struck out four. He has a solid 52/11 K/BB ratio, but his ERA of 5.01 and 1.45 WHIP.Why Bet on Toronto? | 2020 MLB Expert AnalysisThe Jays got one of their best offensive players off the injured list Thursday in outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. The 27-year-old outfielder had a .308/.358/.637 batting line with 14 home runs, 27 RBI, five stolen bases, and 27 runs scored in 39 games entering Thursday. He suffered a left oblique strain in early September.DH Rowdy Tellez remains on the injured list and his season is probably done after an MRI revealed a suspected tendon issue with his right knee. Tellez was putting together his best stretch in the majors with a .283/.346/.540 batting line with eight home runs and 23 RBI in 35 games.Ken Giles’ days in a Blue Jays uniform might be over. The former All-Star closer was injured the Blue Jays’ season-opening series vs. Tampa Bay and spent a month and a half of the shelf nursing a forearm strain. Last week, Giles was activated from the injured list, but made just two appearances before getting shut down again with a forearm issue. His average fastball velocity is down to 94.3 in 2020 from 96.9 in 2019 and his slider has dipped from 86.4 to 84.0. Giles is set for free agency.Jays starting pitcher Matt Shoemaker threw a 45-pitch live batting practice session Wednesday. Blue Jays skipper Charlie Montoyo was impressed with how Shoemaker looked. The right-hander has been sidelined for three and a half weeks with a lat injury but would appear to have a shot at a late-season return. He may work out of the bullpen, though, if the Jays make the playoffs. They probably will.It’s scheduled to be trade acquisition Robbie Ray (2-4) on the bump for Toronto in Friday’s opener.  Ray limited the Mets to one run over five innings in a win last Saturday. Needing a positive outing near the end of what’s been a disastrous year, Ray came through. The lefty scattered four hits and two walks over his five innings, surrendering only a Jake Marisnick RBI double in the fourth inning before exiting. Ray struck out five in the contest.Ray has an ugly 6.85 ERA in 10 appearances between the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays but still has terrific stuff. Ray has crept into the mid-90s this season with his fastball, averaging 93.7 mph, but something was different vs. the Mets as he hit 97.2 mph in the first inning. There were some flashes of 2017, when Ray posted a 2.89 ERA and was named an All-Star with the D-backs.“In my pregame bullpen [session], I was feeling pretty good, and then I sat down for a couple minutes,” Ray said. “When I got back up, honestly, the ball felt like it was coming out pretty good. Before that, it felt OK, but it didn’t feel like 97 [mph]. When I got back up, it definitely felt like it was coming out really good.”Expert PredictionBlue Jays 6, Phillies 4