As if a recent swoon weren’t enough cause for concern, the Toronto Blue Jaysnow have to deal with the potential extended absence of their top pitcher. Brandon Morrow may miss time with an oblique injury, leaving Toronto scrambling to fill out its rotation. Henderson Alvarez gets the call Tuesday as he leads the slumping Blue Jays into the middle contest of a three-game series with the visitingWashington Nationals.
While Toronto’s pitching may be thinning out, the Nationals continue to boast one of the best starting rotation in the majors. Chien-Ming Wang will try to add his name to that list as he makes his third start of the season. Wang has been mostly subpar this season, but he’ll have a strong offense behind him – led by rookie slugger Bryce Harper, who had three hits in Monday’s opener and is hitting .364 in June.
Nationals Blue Jays Betting
When: 7:07 PM ET, Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Chien-Ming Wang (1-2, 5.11 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Henderson Alvarez (3-5, 3.76)
Wang continues to be a work in progress as he tries to retain his spot in a rotation that owns the best ERA in baseball. He showed improvement last time out, allowing only two runs over 5 1/3 innings but ultimately falling short in a 3-1 loss to the New York Mets. Wang has struggled against the Blue Jays, who handed him one of his worst outings – tagging him for eight runs over 2 2/3 innings back in August 2007.
Alvarez’s job is a simple – pitch as deep as possible. The Blue Jays’ bullpen has been taxed beyond what it can handle, capped by Monday’s series-opening 6-3 loss. With Morrow departing after only nine pitches, five Toronto relievers were entrusted with recording all 27 outs. Alvarez may be the right hurler for the job, having gone at least six innings in all but two of his starts this season.
1. Alvarez is 0-3 with two no-decisions since his last victory May 10 versus Minnesota.
2. The present Toronto roster is batting a collective 6-for-13 against Wang, with only four players (Yunel Escobar, Ben Francisco, Kelly Johnson, Omar Vizquel) having faced him.
3. Toronto has dropped four of five games, and has not scored more than three runs in the losses.