Blue Jays-Braves Preview
Unfortunately for the Braves, finding room for both Brian McCann and Evan Gattis could prove difficult with the series shifting back home Wednesday night.
While Atlanta struggled in Monday's 9-3 loss at Toronto (22-30), manager Fredi Gonzalez's club bounced back Tuesday with a 7-6, 10-inning win - its ninth victory in 11 games. After Gattis and McCann hit back-to-back homers in the sixth inning, McCann went deep again in extras to put the Braves ahead for good.
Freddie Freeman also came up big with three hits and an RBI.
"That's a pretty big three right there," Gonzalez said. "Too bad we're not in the American League. We've got to go back and play National League. But it's nice to have those three guys in the lineup all at one time."
With the game being played in an AL ballpark, Gonzalez played McCann - the club's primary backstop - at DH, while Gattis started at catcher. Though Gattis only has 20 plate appearances over the team's last 11 games, he's hit five homers and driven in 12 runs over that stretch.
"We've got a good American League lineup, we've got a lot of power guys," said Gattis, who leads the team with 32 RBIs.
The Braves (31-20) will try to keep things going behind Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.16 ERA). The right-hander's winless stretch reached eight starts after he allowed three runs over six innings Friday in a 7-5, 10-inning road win over the New York Mets - a result that wasn't decided until the following day.
Medlen's average run support of 2.59 per nine innings ranks as one of the lowest in baseball. The Braves have backed him with just three runs over four home starts, during which he's gone 0-2 despite a superb 2.08 ERA.
Since giving up a career-high five runs over three-plus innings in his big league debut May 21, 2009, Medlen has allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of his 17 regular-season home starts dating to 2010 - including one or none in 10 of his last 14.
Medlen will need to be careful against sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. Encarnacion is batting .345 with four homers and 19 RBIs over his last 14 games, and Bautista is 17 for his last 33 with three long balls.
Medlen has never faced Toronto, which gives the ball to Esmil Rogers (1-2, 4.56) for his first start since 2011. Coming off a pair of three-inning efforts, Rogers has thrown 7 1-3 scoreless frames over his last four appearances.
"I wasn't looking for the opportunity, but they gave it to me. I'll take it, and I'll try to do my best," he told MLB's official website. "As a reliever, I just used three pitches, but as a starter, I'll have to use my changeup. ... My confidence is there, so we'll see how it goes in the game."
The right-hander is 6-8 with a 6.24 ERA over 22 career starts. He's allowed 12 runs over two appearances - one start - spanning three innings versus Atlanta.
Justin Upton is 5 for 9 with a homer against Rogers. Brother B.J. has also taken him deep, going 1 for 2.
The Blue Jays have gone 22 for 109 (.202) with runners in scoring position while dropping 12 of 17 on the road. They've lost eight of nine in Atlanta.
Toronto third baseman Brett Lawrie is uncertain to be available after sitting out Tuesday with a sprained left ankle. Lawrie, hitting .209, is listed as day to day.