Skidding to a Stop

The Toronto Blue Jays are trying to snap a three-game losing streak against a Texas squad stuck in an even longer skid.

The Blue Jays open a three-game road set with the Rangers on Friday in the second series between the teams in a week.

Toronto (13-15) and Texas (10-18) concluded a four-game series on Monday, with the Blue Jays taking the final two contests to salvage a split. Toronto was then swept in three games by the Cleveland Indians, including a 6-5 defeat in Thursday's finale.

Oddsmakers have made Texas -106 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 11ev total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 83% of bets for this game have been placed on Toronto -104 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Jason Phillips went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Troy Glaus hit a two-run homer to give the Blue Jays a 4-0 edge in the third inning, but the Indians rallied behind Grady Sizemore's tiebreaking double in the eighth inning.

"It's good to get out of town, I'll tell you that,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Toronto hasn't had much luck in Arlington recently, though, dropping 19 of its last 24 games there. The Rangers have been outscored 32-10 while losing a season-high five straight games, and are coming off a three-game sweep by the New York Yankees.

Texas fell 4-3 in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against New York and 5-2 in the nightcap. Sammy Sosa was a combined 3-for-5 in the twinbill, including his 1,000th career extra-base hit, but left in the sixth inning of the second game when he was hit by a pitch on the side of the helmet.

"He checked out fine,'' said Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose team is at the bottom of the AL West. "We'll see how he feels when he comes in tomorrow.''

If Sosa is in the lineup, he'll face Tomo Ohka (2-2, 5.02 ERA), who is making his second straight start against the Rangers. The right-hander held Texas to one run and five hits over seven innings in Sunday's 7-3 victory to earn his 50th major league win.

Ohka is second behind Hideo Nomo for career victories by Japanese-born pitchers. He is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in four career starts versus Texas, allowing just six earned runs through 26 1-3 innings.

After going 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA during his first three starts of 2007, Ohka has found his groove winning back-to-back starts against Boston and Texas with a 2.25 ERA.

"He's doing a nice job for us,'' Gibbons said. "That's two good ones in a row against powerful lineups.''

Ohka squared off against Brandon McCarthy (1-4, 9.90) in his last start and will do so again Friday. McCarthy continued to struggle in that game, giving up five earned runs and six hits over three innings - which was actually the longest of his last three starts.

The right-hander is 0-3 with a 19.13 ERA over his last four appearances, including three starts, with opponents hitting .405.

"It's disappointing. It angers me that this is three consecutive starts and there's long relievers in this league that have more innings over the course of three outings than I do,'' said McCarthy, who is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in four career games, including one start, versus Toronto. "I went back to the same stuff that's been bugging me the last couple weeks and fell apart.''

Despite his recent efforts, Washington said McCarthy will remain in the rotation. Kevin Millwood, who was scheduled to start Texas' first game Thursday, was scratched with a mild left hamstring strain and replaced by Mike Wood.

Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells missed Thursday's game because of the flu.

by: Dave Michaels - – Email Us

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