Phillies at Blue Jays, May 14-16

Friday, May 14 2021 @ 05:00 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

The Jays open a ten game "homestand" in Dunedin tonight, and let's hope this will be the last time. They'll begin playing their "home" games in Buffalo on June 1 and someday, baby, who knows baby, they'll come and be playing here for you.

It's the Phillies of Philadelphia who provide the opposition this weekend, and they've been perfectly average this season. The average NL team scores 4.29 runs per game; the Phillies score 4.22. The average NL team allows 4.27 runs per game; the Phillies allow 4.24. Perfectly average, I say.  Their 20-18 mark has them in second place behind the Mets (who have played seven fewer games).

A quick glance tells us three men are carrying the offense: Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto, and Jean Segura. Rhys Hoskins and Andrew McCutchen have chipped in as well, though the Phillies would surely like to get a little more from both players, especially Hoskins. And especially with Realmuto out of the lineup this weekend on the COVID list (his tests have been negative so far, but he's exhibited some symptoms.)

Bryce Harper has been especially good so far, hitting .308/.433/.577 with 7 HR and 11 RBI... hang on. Eleven RBI? How does that happen? Does he stop hitting with men on base?

He does not. But all of his homers have come with the bases empty, and it appears that when there are runners aboard the opposition simply stops pitching to him. And why not? With men on, Harper is hitting .438/.571/.531 - in 42 PApps, he's been walked 9 times and hit by a pitch once. With runners in scoring position, he's gone 5-16 (.313) with a double - and he's been walked 4 times and hit by pitch once.

His opportunities also represent a historically low number of plate appearance with men on base. The bases have been empty in 67% of his plate appearances, and there's been a single runner on first base in 17% of them. That's the sort of thing you might see from a leadoff hitter, not from the man hitting third in the lineup. In fact, no major league hitter has a higher percentage of his plate appearances come with two out and no one on base than Harper.

But I promise - someone this weekend is going to comment on those 11 RBIs as if it were some kind of character flaw. Will it be Buck? Tabby? (Does Tabler work Dunedin games, I can't remember.) Someone in the studio. But you know it's going to happen.

The Phillies will be throwing three RH starters at the Jays, and you can expect to see Reese McGuire's in Sunday's afternoon game (which also happens to be  Rob Ray's start.) Chase Anderson (does he qualify as an Old Friend, seeing as how he stunk so badly when he was here?) gets that start for the Phillies - he hasn't been particularly good in Philadelphia, but only one of his seven starts has been truly awful.

Officially, Some Guy is starting for the Jays on Saturday. But I think it's going to be Anthony Kay, and that's what I'm going with.


Fri 14 May - Matz (5-2, 4.86) vs Velasquez (1-0, 4.18)
Sat 15 May - Kay (0-2, 10.24) vs Nola (3-2, 3.59)
Sun 16 May - Ray (1-1, 3.38) vs Anderson (2-3, 5.23)