Braves-Blue Jays Preview
The Atlanta Braves' lengthy winning streak is over. The NL East leaders will look to bounce back by ending their longest interleague road skid.
After outscoring opponents 47-21 in winning eight in a row, Atlanta (30-19) fell 4-2 to the New York Mets on Sunday. The Braves allowed three eighth-inning runs after Dan Uggla hit a two-run shot in the previous inning - his third homer in six games.
The Braves can get back on track by stopping a five-game slide in AL parks. Their last interleague road series didn't go well, as they were outscored 25-7 in three losses to Detroit from April 26-28.
Atlanta has dropped eight of 10 in Toronto, but none of those games came in the four seasons prior to this one. The Braves have won eight of the past nine matchups, though Toronto took the latest one 12-4 on June 10.
Buehrle (1-3, 5.90 ERA), eyeing a 26th interleague victory, will face the Braves for the first time in a Blue Jays uniform. He went 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA in four starts against them last season while with Miami.
The left-hander is looking for his first win in eight starts, though he turned in an encouraging outing Wednesday in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over Tampa Bay, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs.
Toronto (21-29) has only lost once in his last four outings.
"Listen, I'd like to be 5-1 right now. I'm not, I'm 1-3," Buehrle said. "But as long as we're winning my starts, I'm going out there giving our team a chance to win, that's all I can ask for."
The Braves can't ask for much more from their rotation, which has posted a 1.66 ERA during the past nine games. That performance has been especially important with a bullpen that will be without Eric O'Flaherty and Jonny Venters for remainder of the season, and is waiting for the return of Jordan Walden and Luis Ayala.
Tim Hudson (4-3, 4.98) is the lone member of the rotation that has struggled lately, going 0-2 with an 8.56 ERA in his last three starts. The right-hander did manage to work around a 76-minute rain delay to pitch five innings Tuesday in a 5-4, 10-inning win over Minnesota, allowing two runs.
Hudson may have a good chance to get back on track Monday, as he's gone 11-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 starts against the Blue Jays.
Colby Rasmus, older brother of Braves rookie reliever Cory Rasmus, is 5 for 11 with a home run off Hudson.
Teammate Jose Bautista has gone 14 for 25 with two homers and five RBIs in the past six games. Bautista had a team-best two homers in three games against Atlanta in 2012.
The Braves lead the NL with 65 home runs, while Buehrle's 11 homers allowed are among the most in the major leagues.