Hampered by a rash of injuries this week to their starting pitching staff, the Toronto Blue Jays will turn to Brett Cecil today to try and help them complete a weekend sweep of the struggling Philadelphia Phillies.
Cecil, who will make his first start at the major league level this year, went 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA in 20 starts in 2011. The lefty takes the place of Brandon Morrow, who is on the disabled list due to a strained left oblique muscle.
Kyle Drabek left Wednesday's setback to the Nationals with ligament damage to his right elbow. Drabek may have to undergo Tommy John surgery for a second time. On Saturday, rookie pitcher Drew Hutchison was put on the 15-day disabled list with an ulnar collateral ligament sprain in his right elbow. Hutchison was removed from Friday's outing after just nine pitches with elbow soreness.
Cecil, who began the year in the minors, will be facing the Phillies for the second time.
Kyle Kendrick has fallen on hard times recently and enters today's start with two straight defeats. The Phillies righty has allowed 12 hits and 11 runs covering 9 2/3 innings in defeats to the Twins and Dodgers. He's yet to record a decision in two contests against the Blue Jays.
Yesterday, Rajai Davis drove home Yunel Escobar in the bottom of the 10th inning in Toronto's 6-5 win.
Philadelphia southpaw Cliff Lee appeared to be closing in on his first win of the season, taking the mound with a 5-2 lead in the eighth.
Jose Bautista worked a leadoff walk and Edwin Encarnacion followed with a single to left field. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins took the relay throw from John Mayberry Jr. and made an errant throw to second that enabled both runners to score.
"It was my fault," said Rollins about the error. "I saw the runner and, you know, just threw it into right field."
Chad Qualls replaced Lee after a single by Kelly Johnson, who advanced to third on a one-out base hit by pinch-hitter David Cooper. J.P. Arencibia then tied the game with a double down the third-base line. Qualls retired the next two batters to end the inning.
In the 10th, losing pitcher Joe Savery (0-2) issued a leadoff walk to Escobar, who took second base on a balk and moved to third on a groundout. After Arencibia struck out swinging, Davis stroked a single to left-center field, sending the Blue Jays to their second win in this three-game series.
Escobar collected three hits, including a solo home run, for Toronto. Starter Ricky Romero gave up four runs on seven hits over six frames, while Francisco Cordero (2-4) was the winning pitcher after firing a scoreless 10th.
"He gave up a few early but still grinded out six solid inning for us and really kept us in the game enough to give us a fighting chance at the end," remarked Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen about Romero.
Mayberry crushed a three-run homer for the Phillies, who fell to 1-7 on the road in extra innings.
Lee, meanwhile, remains winless through his first 11 starts of the season. He was tagged for five runs on a career-high-tying 12 hits in seven-plus innings.
The Phillies, losers in 11 of their last 14 games, are 3-5 on this nine-game road trip.
Catcher Carlos Ruiz, who is batting a team-best .362, sat out yesterday due to a sore muscle in his left side. He's likely to sit out again today.
The Blue Jays lost two of three meetings with the Phillies a season ago.