Blue Jays-Brewers Preview

The Toronto Blue Jays bounced back from a recent slump with the

help of Colby Rasmus, who continues to swing a hot bat from second

slot in the batting order.

Given his success against Milwaukee Brewers starter Randy Wolf,

the Blue Jays may be poised to halt another dubious stretch of

futility.

Toronto looks to end a 10-game skid in Milwaukee dating back

nearly 16 years when it visits the Brewers in the opener of a

three-game set Monday night.

The Blue Jays (34-32) had lost six of seven heading into their

three-game weekend series against Philadelphia, but they rebounded

to sweep the Phillies, winning Sunday’s finale 6-2.

Rasmus went 5 for 9 over the final two games, hitting a two-run

homer Sunday.

“Just an outstanding day. There were a number of balls he ran

down in the center field,” manager John Farrell told the Blue Jays’

official website. “He’s swinging the bat with a lot of

confidence.”

He especially has reason to be confident in the No. 2 hole.

Rasmus is hitting .356 with seven homers in 15 games batting

second, compared to a .211 average and three homers in any other

spot in the lineup.

“I hoped I would get back to being myself and driving the

baseball and having fun,” Rasmus said. “(I’m) taking that approach

up there against those pitchers and being able to battle with what

I think I can do.”

Rasmus is 4 for 7 with a triple and a homer lifetime off Wolf

(2-5, 5.06 ERA), who looks to help the Brewers beat Toronto for the

11th consecutive time in Milwaukee.

The Blue Jays’ last road victory in the series was July 14,

1996, when the Brewers called County Stadium home and played in the

American League.

Milwaukee has also won nine of the last 10 overall meetings with

Toronto, including a three-game sweep at Miller Park from June

17-19, 2008, when the teams last met.

Wolf, though, is 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in eight starts since

beating San Diego on April 30. He’s pitched better of late,

allowing an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings against the Chicago Cubs

on June 7 before giving up one run in seven innings versus Kansas

City on Thursday.

The veteran left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two career

starts against the Blue Jays, but hasn’t faced them since July 14,

2000, while pitching for Philadelphia.

The Brewers (30-36) have lost four of six after falling 5-4 in

15 innings to Minnesota on Sunday. Corey Hart’s three-run homer

came in a losing cause, but manager Ron Roenicke took some

positives from the defeat.

“I like the fact that we had a lot of baserunners, we had a lot

of chances,” Roenicke said. ”I like the fact our pitching is

still throwing the ball great. Our bullpen was really good

today.”

Ryan Braun went 1 for 7 in the long contest to extend his

hitting streak to 12 games, during which he’s hitting .346 with

five homers. He’ll look to stay hot Sunday against struggling

Henderson Alvarez, who will be making his first start versus

Milwaukee.

Alvarez (3-6, 3.87) is 0-4 with a 5.50 ERA in six starts since

beating Minnesota on May 10. He allowed four runs – all coming on

three home runs – in seven innings of Wednesday’s 4-2 loss to

Washington.