Braves-Blue Jays Preview
The Toronto Blue Jays have been productive offensively, but they also have been maddeningly inconsistent.
Being without their leadoff hitter likely won’t help.
Jose Reyes isn’t expected to play Friday for Toronto as it hosts the Atlanta Braves.
The Blue Jays (5-5) rank near the top of the majors with 5.5 runs per game but have scored either fewer than three runs or 10-plus in each of their past seven games. They struck out 12 times and No. 9 hitter Devon Travis had two of their four hits in a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Thursday.
The rookie has been a pleasant surprise, batting .371 with 10 RBIs through his first 10 games. Jose Bautista, however, is hitting .152 while Edwin Encarnacion is at .184.
Reyes, hitting .324 with five RBIs, left Thursday due to soreness in his left side, an ailment that has bothered him for a few days.
"I’m going to take some days off and see, with some rest, if it calms down a little bit," he said.
Atlanta (6-3) has totaled 10 runs while dropping three of four. The Braves have gone 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position after starting off 17 for 42. Freddie Freeman has mirrored that slide, going 1 for 14 overall after a 7-for-21 start.
"It’s early, just got to keep grinding and put good swings on the ball," said Freeman, who is 12 for 23 in his last five against the Blue Jays. "Hopefully it’ll fall (into place) in Toronto."
The Braves’ rotation also started well, going 4-0 with a 2.56 ERA in the team’s first seven games, but its last two starters allowed eight runs over 7 1-3 innings in back-to-back losses to Miami.
Julio Teheran (2-0, 1.50 ERA) takes the hill after allowing one earned run over six-plus innings in each of his first two outings, beating the Marlins and the New York Mets.
Teheran endured a scare versus New York on Saturday, twisting his knee while trying to get out of the way of a line drive hit up the middle, though it doesn’t appear to be a concern.
"I wasn’t making the pitches like I was making the six innings before, but I don’t feel anything," he said. "That’s the most important thing."
Teheran can become the first Braves pitcher to win his first three starts in a season since Paul Maholm in 2013.
Toronto’s Drew Hutchison (1-0, 6.97) has had mixed results. He limited the Yankees to one run and three hits over six innings in a 6-1 victory in his season debut, but was shelled for a career worst-tying seven runs and seven hits over 4 1-3 innings in a 10-7 defeat at Baltimore on Sunday, though he wasn’t charged with the loss. He gave up two homers, hit two batters and walked another.
Both struggled in their only previous appearance against this opponent. Teheran gave up four runs in 4 1-3 innings without recording a decision in a 12-4 loss to Toronto on June 10, 2012, while Hutchison allowed five runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at Atlanta a day earlier.
The Braves, who yielded three runs in a season-opening sweep at Miami, are opening a nine-game trip. Atlanta has dropped 17 of its last 22 interleague road games.
These teams split four meetings in 2013.