Heading into game two of three in Atlanta on Saturday, the Jays were looking to stop not only their mini two game losing streak, but to somehow manage a win at Turner Field; something that’s eluded them since 2006, when they swept the Braves in a three game series.
Toronto’s losing streak in Atlanta started in 2009. They’ve played eight games, including the two this season, and have only scored 12 runs in total. The Braves, meanwhile, have managed to score 36 times over the same span of games.
It’s hard to pinpoint what prevents the Jays from scoring when in Georgia. It could be they’ve run across tough pitching every game. It could be their lineup (especially this year’s) is designed and balanced around having a designated hitter. Or, maybe AL teams just are at a disadvantage when their pitchers have to bat during interleague play. That’s not to say NL pitchers aren’t at times a liability at the plate, but at least they have the benefit of having stepped to the plate before.
Whatever the cause of the Jays’ lack of offense, a main concern for Toronto on Saturday had to be cutting down on how many guys they left on base. Not watching the home team walk-off with the win was probably on the team’s to-do list as well.
Cue Drew Hutchinson on the mound, who only two weeks ago pitched seven shutout innings at home against the Orioles to end Toronto’s ugly losing streak that went through Tampa and Texas.
Through six and a third innings, Hutchinson struck out seven Braves while walking only one, but was hurt by the seven hits and five earned runs he gave up. Even though Hutchinson was locating his fastball and breaking ball, he made two mistakes over the middle of the plate that the Braves launched into the seats. Dan Uggla hit a three-run homerun in the bottom of the third on a 1-1 count, and Andrelton Simmons when deep on the first pitch for s solo shot in the seventh. Michael Bourn would double later in the seventh to score the Braves’ fifth run, after Hutchinson had been replaced by Luis Perez.
The Jays’ offensive line, while not as bad as Friday night, still didn’t offer. Jose Bautista’s 16th homerun of the season in the sixth inning would plate the Jays’ only two runs. Toronto only managed five hits against Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson, who went eight innings, struck out four and walked one.
Looking to salvage at least a game, Ricky Romero will try to hold down Atlanta’s hitters. Romero made great strides in his last start to regain his fastball control, which has escaped him most of the season. He’ll need to minimize the Braves’ scoring chances on Sunday to allow Toronto the chance to head home with a win.
Game time is 1:05pm EST. Julio Teheran is set to start for Atlanta.
About the Author
Written by Amanda Tallon
Self-professed baseball nerd, blogger, writer, tweeter, learning addict and once colour commentator. Celebrating over twenty years of love with the Toronto Blue Jays and the beautiful game of baseball. I also contribute to thegalsgotgame.com, a sports website for business women by women.