The Toronto Blue Jays and Atlanta Braves open up a three-game interleague series Monday night at Turner Field
Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves
Toronto dropped a 2-1 contest to Cincinnati in the finale of a three-game set Sunday afternoon. The Blue Jays are now an even 3-3 versus the National League this season and will look to improve upon their 14-10 record against the Braves. Over the past two seasons, the club leads all teams during interleague play with 34 home runs. Outfielder Jose Bautista is usually involved when talking about the long ball and is batting .348 with two home runs and six RBIs during interleague play in 2011. Toronto is 26-29 versus right-handed starters this year.
Blue Jays starting pitcher Ricky Romero evened up his record at 6-6 last time out with a brilliant home performance against the Orioles. The left-hander surrendered just a single run and scattered three hits in eight strong innings, while striking out a season-high 12 batters in a 4-1 win. Romero had dropped his previous two outings, allowing eight runs and 19 hits over 15 2/3 frames, receiving just five runs of support. He has fared well against NL opponents, posting a 3-1 record and 2.03 ERA in six interleague starts.
Atlanta is still one of only two clubs in the majors not to get swept after tallying a 4-2 home win Sunday over Texas. “We got some big hits today,” said Braves catcher Brian McCann. “We got some hits with runners in scoring position.” The Braves improved to 13-10 in day games this season, including a 5-6 mark at home. Incredibly, the club will be looking to win back-to-back home games for the first time since May 28-29, and will also bring in the confidence of knowing it swept today’s opponent the last time they met at Turner Field. Since interleague play began in 1997, the Braves are 121-111 against the American League, owning the third-best winning percentage in the National League in such contests. Atlanta is 11-10 when facing left-handed starters this year.
Braves starting pitcher Tim Hudson is 5-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 14 starts this season and will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing effort last time out. He allowed three runs (two earned) and four hits over four frames in a 4-0 home loss to the Mets, an appearance that was cut short due to a rain delay. The veteran right-hander is 1-4 with a 5.80 ERA in his last 11 starts. “I feel like I’m throwing the ball better than the results,” Hudson commented. “It’s just the way things are going right now.” Hudson is 10-3 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 starts against the Blue Jays, last facing them on June 28, 2008.
Bettors will likely back the Blue Jays due to their 5-1 record as a road underdog, while the Braves are 1-8 in Hudson’s last nine outings versus AL East foes