TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES:
THE LATEST: The Blue Jays completed their weekend sweep of the Pirates on Sunday, plating five runs in the top of the 9th inning to punctuate a 10-1 victory…Marked their 2nd series sweep of the season (also: 3G sweep on April 24-26 vs. CWS)…Outscored the Pirates by a 22-3 margin, the 2nd-largest run differential in a 3-game interleague series in franchise history (+25 from Sept. 8-10, 2014 vs. CHC)…Improved to 5-6 in series finales this year. Toronto has won 11 of its last 18 games and 20 of its last 31…With a win today, can improve to 9-3 in series openers this season.
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHIT: Whit Merrifield drove in the first four runs of Sunday’s contest, notching an RBI single in the 1st inning before drilling a three-run homer in 3rd…Was his 1st longball of the season, snapping a 30-game home run drought (last: Oct. 2 vs. BOS)…Finished the game 2-for-5 with four RBI, his most RBI in a single game since Aug. 25, 2021 at HOU (4RBI)…Marked his 8th multi-hit effort of the year. The 34-year old has batted .291 (30-for-103) this year with nine doubles, one homer, 14 RBI, eight walks, and seven stolen bases, reaching base safely in 25 of his 28 games (.750 OPS).
STEEL CITY SPLASH DOWN: Daulton Varsho smashed a two-run home run out of PNC Park and into the Allegheny River in the 9th inning on Sunday, his 5th longball of the season and his 3rd in the last six games…Became the 1st Blue Jay ever, and the 46th player overall, to hit a ball into the Allegheny River…Also doubled in the 1st inning, finishing the afternoon 2-for-5…Marked his 10th multi-hit game of the year, five of which have come in the last six games…Is riding a season-long sixgame hitting streak, going 11-for-24 (.458) with three doubles, three homers, and nine RBI (1.420 OPS)… Has driven in a run in each of those six contests, the longest RBI streak of his career. The 26-year old has reached base safely in 21 of his 22 road games with an at-bat this season, hitting .287 (25-for-87) with seven doubles, five homers, and
14 RBI…Owns an .887 OPS as a visitor this year, compared to a .389 mark at Rogers Centre.
A GOOD BRAND OF BASEBALL: Brandon Belt reached base four times on Sunday, notching a pair of singles and a double while drawing a walk, finishing the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored… Marked his 5th multi-hit and 2nd three-hit game of the year…Has 15 hits in his last 15 games, batting .313 (15- for-48) with seven extra-base hits and seven RBI, after recording one knock in his first six contests.
KEVIN CONTINUES TO CRUSH: Kevin Kiermaier made it 10-1 Blue Jays on Sunday with a two-run homer in the 9th, his 2nd blast of the season…Also doubled in the 3rd, part of a 2-for-5 afternoon, his 8th multi-hit game of the season…Is now batting .284 (27-for-95) with five doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 12 RBI (.782 OPS)…His 25 hits while batting 9th are the most in the Majors (2nd: Michael A. Taylor – 22).
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Blue Jays are on a 10-day, nine-game road trip (3-4 so far) with four contests in Boston (0-4), three in Pittsburgh (3-0), and two in Philadelphia…Their 23 road games played are the most in the Majors (BAL – 21G)…Own a 12-11 road record this year for a .522
win% (8th in the AL). Blue Jays hitters lead MLB in road hits (213) while ranking 2nd in the AL in AVG (.261), 3rd in SLG (.426), 3rd in OPS (.759), and 4th in OBP (.332)…The pitching staff ranks 11th in the AL in road ERA (4.80), 13th in road WHIP (1.39), and 14th in road opponents’ batting average (.270).
HITTING IT: The Blue Jays have notched 317 hits so far this season, 4th most in the AL…Are also 5th in the AL in team batting average (.261), 4th in OBP (.336), 5th in SLG (.420), and 5th in OPS (.756). Toronto’s offence has racked up at least 10 hits on 15 occasions this year, tied for 6th most among MLB clubs…Since the start of 2022, the Blue Jays have 81 such games, four more than any other team (COL – 77).
The Blue Jays are one of two AL teams who have scored in every game this season (also: LAA)…Have gone 53 straight games without being shut out, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Majors (LAA – 77G).
INTERTAINMENT: Toronto is playing its 3rd interleague series of the year (1-2 at STL, 3-0 at PIT)…Led the AL with 13 interleague wins last season, which was one off the franchise’s all-time single-season record, set in 2021 (14)…Since the beginning of the 2021 campaign, Toronto’s .674 win% in Interleague Play (31-15) is 3rd best among all MLB clubs (TB – .714, LAD – .675). The Blue Jays have hit 651 home runs all-time in Interleague Play, the most among all 30 teams (2nd: CWS – 619 HR).
YU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN: Yusei Kikuchi improved to 5-0 on Sunday, twirling 6.1 shutout frames with four hits, two walks, and a trio of strikeouts…Became the 13th Japanese-born player to reach 500 career innings…Is one of just four MLB pitchers with at least five wins and no losses this season.
VS. THE PHILLIES: All-Time: 42-28
2022: 3-1 Road: 21-15
Road: 1-1 Citizens Bank Park: 16-11
The Blue Jays took three of the four meetings with the Phillies last season, splitting the two-game set at Citizens Bank Park in September…Have won five of the last six games, averaging 13 hits and nearly eight runs per game, outscoring the Phils, 47-28… Toronto’s .600 win% (42-28) against Philadelphia is their highest against any team they’ve faced at least 25 times, according to Stats Perform. Daulton Varsho faced the Phillies five times last season as a member of the Diamondbacks, going 8-for-22 (.364) with three doubles, a homer, and four
RBI, while notching a couple of three-hit games… Over 10 career meetings, has batted .297 (11-for-37) with five extra-base hits and four RBI (.820 OPS). Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit safely in all four games vs. PHI in 2022, going 4-for-18 (.222) with a pair of home runs and five RBI…Is a career .283 hitter (13-for-46) over 13 meetings with the Phils, notching a double, five homers, and 10 RBI (.630 SLG, .977 OPS). Alejandro Kirk also hit safely in all four meetings with Philly last season, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with four walks next to just two strikeouts for a .579 OBP and a 1.046 OPS.
STARTING PITCHER – Alek Manoah, RHP #6
Making his 8th start of the season and his 5th on the road…Took the loss his last time out on 5/3 at BOS, giving up 5R/2ER over 5.0 innings with 8 hits, a walk, and 3 strikeouts on a season-high 103 pitches (63 strikes). His career 1.93 ERA in the month of May is the lowest mark in Blue Jays history, min. 5 starts (2nd: Shaun Marcum – 2.20). Since entering the league in 2021, has held opposing righthanded hitters to a .167 AVG, trailing only Cristian Javier (.162) for the best mark among qualified hurlers.
Landed a no-decision on 4/28 vs. SEA, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 4 walks over 5.0 frames with a season-high 7 strikeouts. Threw 7.0 shutout frames on 4/22 at NYY, scattering just 2 hits and a walk with 5 strikeouts…Was his 2nd outing with 7.0 scoreless innings this season (also: 4/5 at KC). Took the loss on 4/16 vs. TB, tossing 4.2 innings and allowing a career-high 7 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks with 5 punchouts…Threw 101 pitches (61 strikes), eclipsing the century mark for the 1st time this year. Took a no-decision in the team’s Home Opener on 4/11 vs. DET, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and 5 walks over 4.1 innings with 3 strikeouts…Became the 5th pitcher in team history to pitch the club’s Season Opener and then their Home Opener, joining Jim Clancy (1981), Jimmy Key (1989), Marcus Stroman (2016), and Hyun Jin Ryu (2020). Earned his 1st win of the year on 4/5 at KC, tossing 7.0 frames of one-hit, shutout ball with four walks and five strikeouts. Was the Opening Day starter for the Blue Jays on 3/30 at STL…Took a no-decision that day, giving up 5 runs on a career-high 9 hits and 2 walks over 3.1 innings with 3 strikeouts… At 25 years and 80 days old, became the 4th-youngest Opening Day starter in team history (Drew Hutchison – 24.227 in 2015; Todd Stottlemyre – 24.324 in 1990; Marcus Stroman 24.338 in 2016).
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NOTES:
GAME #35 RECAP: The Phillies defeated the Boston Red Sox, 6-1, on Mother’s Appreciation Day at Citizens Bank Park … Starter Taijuan Walker (W, 3-2) went 6.0 innings and allowed 1 run on 3 hits with 0 walks and 6 strikeouts … Kyle Schwarber went 2-for-3 with a home run and a walk and J.T. Realmuto had 2 hits and 2 RBI … Jose Alvarado and Matt Strahm made scoreless appearances in relief of Walker.
GO NOLES: Phils starter Aaron Nola has gone at least 6.0 innings in each of his last four starts (since 4/16) and five of his last six (since 4/5) … Nola has five starts this season of at least 6.0 innings which ranks T-9th among all NL pitchers … Since 2018, Nola has gone 6.0 innings in 98 of his 150 total starts (65%) … His 98 games of at least 6.0 innings pitched since 2018 ranks T-3rd among all pitchers in MLB (with Max Scherzer) – he trails only Gerrit Cole (114 such starts) and teammate Zack Wheeler (101 such starts).
CLIMBING THE RANKS: In his last start, May 3 against the Dodgers in LA, Aaron Nola passed Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander (1,409) for 6th place on the Phillies all-time strikeout list … Nola enters tonight’s game with 1,413 career strikeouts and he trails Curt Schilling (1,554) for 5th place on the Phillies all-time list … Tonight will be Nola’s 211th career start in a Phillies uniform which ranks 9th in franchise history – next up is Larry Christenson who ranks 8th in franchise history with 220 career starts.
SUPPORT FOR TEAM RED WHITE & BLUE: Last night’s “Bowling for the Troops” Charity Tournament hosted by Aaron Nola and Yuengling raised $100,000 for Team Red, White & Blue, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching veterans’ lives and forging America’s leading health and wellness community for veterans. Team executives, players, coaches and broadcasters came out to support Nola’s inaugural event, where they walked the red carpet, took part in the live and silent auction, and then bowled for charity.
BEDLAM AT THE BANK: Through 16 games at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies are averaging 39,556 in attendance per game which ranks 3rd among all clubs in MLB behind only the Dodgers (47,982) and Cardinals (39,921) … Of Philadelphia’s first 16 games at home, nine have been sellouts (56%) and 12 have been over 35,000 (75%) … Sunday’s crowd of 44,669 was the largest regular season crowd at CBP since June 22, 2019, against Miami (44,722).
GLOVELY: The Phillies enter today’s game with a .990 fielding percentage as a team that ranks 4th among all NL clubs and 7th in MLB – Philadelphia has committed 12 errors in 1,204 total chances which is tied for the second-fewest total errors by a club in MLB this year (fewest: SD, 10 errors) … Individually, Bryson Stott has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 132 total chances at second base … Stott leads the Phillies this season with 5 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and ranks T-3rd among all MLB second basemen, trailing only CLE’s Andres Gimenez (6 DRS) & SD’s Ha-seong Kim (7 DRS) … Stott has played 80 career games at second base (74 GS) and has not made an error in 301 total chances to begin his career … Per Elias, Stott has the longest errorless streak at second base to begin a Phillies career – he eclipsed Tomas Perez’s previous streak of 57 games, April 2, 2001-August 2, 2002 … The last major league second baseman to start his career at second base with 80 consecutive errorless games was Christian Arroyo who went 108 straight games from May 16, 2017-Sept. 28, 2022.
A REAL UNICORN: Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto ranks T-2nd among all MLB players this year in triples (3) and trails only teammate Brandon Marsh (4) for the major league lead … Among all active catchers in MLB, Realmuto’s 31 career triples are equal to the next three catchers behind him, combined (Salvador Perez – 11, Wilson Contreras & James McCann – 10) … Realmuto, 5-for-7 in stolen bases this year, ranks in the 89th percentile among MLB players with an average sprint speed of 28.6 feet/second – that ranks T-3rd on the Phillies (with Marsh), behind only Trea Turner (30.0 ft/sec) and Edmundo Sosa (29.4 ft/sec).
HOMEOWNER: Over his last 162 games at Citizens Bank Park (regular and postseason combined, since 9/27/19), Bryce Harper is slashing .297/.417/.605 with a 1.022 OPS in 693 plate appearances – he has 119 runs, 42 doubles, four triples, 41 home runs, 111 RBI and 112 walks in that span (Phillies are 95-67 in those 162 – .586 win %) … Last postseason, in eight games at CBP, Harper slashed .379/.455/.931 with a 1.386 OPS as the Phillies went 6-2 at home (.750 win %) … In 290 career games (regular and postseason combined) in this ballpark, Harper is slashing .282/.400/.581 (.981 OPS) in 1,233 plate appearances (since 5/21/12).
HERE COMES THE CAVALRY: Over his last four games (since 5/3), Bryce Harper is 7-for-15 with 6 runs, a double, a home run, an RBI and 3 walks to 2 strikeouts … Prior to last Tuesday night’s game against the Dodgers, the Phillies reinstated Harper from the 10-day injured list … Harper, who underwent UCL reconstruction/repair with ulnar nerve transposition on his right elbow on Nov. 23, 2022, in Los Angeles, Calif., performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, returned to the Phillies 160 days after the procedure … Last season, Harper was selected as a National League All-Star for the seventh time in his career … A two-time National League Most Valuable Player (2015; 2021), Harper was named the 2022 National League Championship Series MVP after slashing .400/.400/.850 with five extra-base hits (2 HR, 3 2B) and five RBI in five games … He hit the game-winning home run in Game 5 of the NLCS on Oct. 23, 2022, against San Diego, and overall, had four game-winning home runs which was the most ever by any player during a single postseason … His 1.160 OPS last postseason ranks fifth in major league history for a single postseason (min. 70 PA), behind only Barry Bonds in 2002 (1.559), Randy Arozarena in 2020 (1.273), David Freese in 2011 (1.258) and Corey Seager in 2020 (1.171).
FEELING SLG-ISH: The Phillies have hit 38 home runs this season which ranks T-8th among the 15 clubs in the National League … Of those 38 home runs, 27 have been solo shots which ranks 6th among all NL clubs and 8th in MLB – the only teams who have hit more solo homers than the Phils are the Rays (54), Atlanta (33), Giants (32), Yankees (30), Dodgers (29) and Brewers (28) & Cubs (28) … This year, with no runners on base, the Phillies have a .452 SLG which ranks 4th in MLB – conversely, with runners on base, they have a .401 SLG that ranks 18th.
TONIGHT’S STARTER – AARON NOLA • RHP #27
2023: 2-2, 4.64 ERA Career: 80-64, 3.64 ERA
LAST START: 5/3 at LAD: ND, 6.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 SO, HR
… Nola vs Stone … The Phillies fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 10-6, on a getaway day in Los Angeles … The Phillies were up 5-0 following the top of the 3rd inning before the Dodgers plated runs in the 3rd, 4th and 8th innings to take a 6-5 lead heading into the top of the 9th … The Phillies rallied to tie it in the 9th before Max Muncy hit a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the frame.
• Philly Value: Since 2018, Nola is the only pitcher in baseball to accrue more than 20.0 fWAR (22.3) and pitch for only one team … In that span, he ranks 5th overall in fWAR behind only Jacob deGrom (27.1), Max Scherzer (25.5), Gerrit Cole (24.9) and Zack Wheeler (23.6) … His 30.7 fWAR as a Phillie is tied with Chris Short for 8th-most in franchise history, and since 2000 trails only Cole Hamels (40.5)
• Home Body: Nola has a 1.98 ERA (8 ER, 36.1 IP) with 8 BB, 40 SO and has held opponents to a .212/.262/.311 slash line over his last 6 home starts (since 8/25/22) … Three of those starts have been scoreless
• On the 5th Day, You Shall Rest: Nola, who has 5 days of rest, has made 103 career starts with at least 5 days of rest, and in those starts is 42-26 with a 3.13 ERA (242 ER, 696.0 IP) … He has a 4.26 ERA (272 ER, 575.0 IP) in 97 starts on 4 days rest
• Move on Over, Jim and Grover: In his last start, Nola passed Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander (1,409) for 6th on the Phillies all-time strikeout list … Alexander reached that mark in 2,513.2 IP as a Phillie – Nola has 1,271.0 … On 4/28 at HOU, Nola also passed Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 9th place on the Phillies all-time starts list with 209 and now, with 211 counting today, is 9 shy of tying Larry Christenson (220) for 8th
• Walk Talk: Nola has not walked a batter in each of his last 2 starts, and has just 9 in 7 starts this season … His 1.90 BB/9.0 IP ranks 7th among NL pitchers … Since the start of last season, Nola’s 3.9% walk rate (38 BB, 979 BF) is lowest among all pitchers with at least 750 batters faced
• vs AL East: 3-7, 3.40 ERA (34 ER, 90.0 IP) in 15 starts
• vs Interleague: 10-11, 3.60 ERA (69 ER, 172.1 IP) in 29 starts
• 2023: 0-1, 4.97 ERA (7 ER, 12.2 IP) in 2 starts
• Career: 44-25, 3.22 ERA (229 ER, 640.1 IP) in 103 starts
• Recorded his 1,400th career strikeout on 4/21 vs COL, the 5thyoungest to reach the mark among the 20 active pitchers to do so at the time
• Made his 6th straight Opening Day, extending his MLB-best active streak of Opening Day starts
• Was the first pitcher in baseball to make 6 straight Opening Day starts since Julio Teheran in made his 6th consecutive for ATL in 2019, and joins Robin Roberts (12) and Steve Carlton (10) as the only Phillies to do