Blue Jays-Giants Preview
Madison Bumgarner finally reversed his fortune against some of the NL's best pitchers last week. This week, the San Francisco Giants ace gets a chance against a top arm from the AL.
Bumgarner draws another marquee matchup Wednesday against Marcus Stroman, who will try to lift the visiting Toronto Blue Jays to their ninth win in 11 games over the Giants.
Toronto (18-17) followed Monday's 3-1 series-opening victory with a 4-0 win Tuesday. Troy Tulowitzki homered and drove in three runs and J.A. Happ fell one out short of his first complete game since August 2010 in the latest win.
Tulowitzki, who grew up in nearby Sunnyvale, California, has opened his 11th big league season slow, batting .178 with six home runs.
''He had a big night,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''He's on familiar ground right now. It was only a matter of time. He's been taking heat and he's working hard. You know what? He's a damn good player.''
Now the Blue Jays will try to slow down a hot Bumgarner and win their fourth straight on the road.
Bumgarner (4-2, 2.93 ERA) has surrendered six earned runs over 27 innings in his last four starts, and has won his last three.
But the left-hander draws yet another tough matchup. He has already faced the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw twice, Arizona's Zack Greinke and the New York Mets' Noah Syndergaard, helping the Giants to just one win in those matchups.
That victory over Syndergaard came in the middle of his current three-game spurt. It was capped by Friday's 6-4 win over Colorado in which Bumgarner gave up seven hits and four runs - two earned - in 7 1/3 innings while walking one and striking out a season-high 10.
All four Rockies runs came in the second inning, but Bumgarner didn't allow a runner past first base the rest of his outing. He retired 15 of the final 17 batters he faced, helping the Giants (17-18) regroup from a 17-7 loss to Colorado one night earlier.
''It's not exactly what I wanted but you have to throw that aside and just compete,'' Bumgarner said. ''We had to win (Friday) after last night's embarrassing game. That was no fun.''
Toronto is one of six teams Bumgarner has never opposed. However, Tulowitzki faced him plenty in his time with Colorado, going 11 for 29 with two home runs and two doubles. Josh Donaldson has also homered in the matchup in six at-bats.
Stroman (4-0, 3.60) has surrendered just three runs and 11 hits in 15 innings over his last two starts. The right-hander has walked four and struck out 17 in that time - just two fewer than his first five starts combined.
Stroman's seven-inning effort in Saturday's 5-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers helped him drop his ERA to the lowest its been since his opening start. He held the Dodgers to two runs and eight hits while walking two and striking out eight.
Facing the NL hasn't been a problem for Stroman, who is 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in three career interleague starts.