Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Atlanta Braves (25-14) at Toronto Blue Jays (23-16)

ATLANTA BRAVES NOTES:

TODAY’S GAME: The Braves and Blue Jays today conclude a three-game weekend series in what is the only scheduled matchup between the clubs this season… Atlanta and Toronto last played in 2021.

  • Toronto topped Atlanta, 5-2, yesterday afternoon and has taken each of the first two games of this series.
  • The Braves and Blue Jays have played 63 games since the advent of interleague play in 1997, and Atlanta has played to a 30-33 (.476) all-time against Toronto…The Blue Jays have won each of the last eight games against the Braves after sweeping a pair of three-game series in 2021.
  • Atlanta returned to Canada for the first time since the 2019 season this weekend…The Braves played away to the Blue Jays during that 2021 season, but all three games were played in Dunedin, FL, at Toronto’s spring training complex.
  • The Braves have played to an 11-14 (.440) record in Toronto at the Rogers Centre, but their series loss this weekend was their first here since 2008… Atlanta split two-game sets in 2013, 2018 and 2019, swept a two-game series in 2017, and took two-of-three in 2015.
  • RH Collin McHugh is set to make the 127th start of his career this afternoon, but his first since 2021 while with the Rays…McHugh has pitched in 13 games and made six career starts against Toronto, going 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA (13 ER/43.1 IP) and 49 strikeouts versus the Blue Jays…In nine relief appearances this season for Atlanta, he is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA (5 ER/13.1 IP).
  • LH Yusei Kikuchi has never faced Atlanta, but has pitched against three current members of the Braves roster…Matt Olson is batting .250/.348/.600 with a pair of homers against him…The 6-foot-0, 210- pound native of Morioka, Japan has made seven starts for the Blue Jays this season, going 5-0 with a 3.35 ERA (14 ER/37.2 IP).

LOSS: Atlanta dropped its third consecutive game yesterday afternoon, losing to Toronto, 5-2…The Braves have scored just two runs in 18.0 innings here in Toronto, and have just four total runs over their last three games.

  • The Braves were last held to no more than two total runs over two games in 2022, when Atlanta tallied just one run over two games at Philadelphia, September 22 and September 23.
  • Atlanta has not been held to two-or-fewer runs in four straight games since back-to-back doubleheaders in 2021, June 20 vs. St. Louis and June 21 at New York-NL.
  • Atlanta is just 2-9 this season when scoring three of fewer runs, including losses in six of its last seven games when doing so.
  • The Braves fell to 6-7 in interleague play with the loss, and are in the middle of 14 consecutive games against the American League.

EIGHT STRAIGHT: Following yesterday’s defeat, Atlanta has dropped each of its last eight games to Toronto dating to the 2021 season.

  • The Blue Jays swept all six games during 2021, and have won the first two games of this series, and has outscored Atlanta, 51-22 (+29), during the streak.
  • The skid is Atlanta’s longest to a single team since 2015, when they dropped nine in a row to the Washington Nationals.

ON THE ROAD: With defeats in the first two games this weekend, Atlanta has dropped its first road series of the season…The Braves entered play a perfect 6-0 in road series this year…Atlanta is looking to avoid a sweep with a win this afternoon.

  • Atlanta has not been swept on the road since 2021, when the Braves dropped all three games at Dodger Stadium, August 30 to September 1.
  • Despite just two runs this series, Atlanta still leads the National League with 110 runs scored on the road, fifth most in the majors behind Texas (123), Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Toronto (all 120)…Three of those four teams have played more games on the road than Atlanta.
  • The Braves’ 15 wins on the road are their most through 20 games since moving to Atlanta in 1966, despite losing their last two games…The franchise-best mark through 20 road games came from the 1884 Boston Beaneaters, who went 16-4 in their first 20 such games.

ROSARIO STREAKING: Eddie Rosario went 1-for-4 with a run scored yesterday, and has hit in each of his last 10 games dating to May 1…He’s batting .333/.350/.436 during the run, with four doubles and six RBI.

  • Rosario’s run is tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the majors, and second longest in the National League.
  • He has raised his batting average 38 points during the streak, from .221 when it started to .259 following last night’s game.
  • Rosario’s run is the longest by a Braves player this season, and his longest personal hitting streak since joining the Braves in July 2021.

BASES LOADED: Atlanta had the bases loaded with no outs in the seventh inning yesterday but could not score a run, and has scored just 35 runs in 55 plate appearances with the bases loaded this season…The Braves are 1-for-their-last-9 in such situations.

  • Atlanta is batting .200/.309/.333 with the bases load this season, with just three extra-base hits… The Braves have grounded into three double plays in such situations, tied for third most in the majors.
  • The Braves’ 55 plate appearances with the bases loaded are the most in baseball, however their 35 runs scored are tied for seventh.

Tonight’s Starting Pitcher – #32 Collin McHugh RHP
2023 Record: 1-0, 3.38 ERA • 2022 Record: 3-2, 2.60 ERA
vs. RHB: .357 (10-28), 0 HR • vs. LHB: .261 (6-23), 0 HR
Home: 0-0, 3.00 ERA (2 ER/6.0 IP) • Away: 1-0, 3.68 ERA (3 ER/7.1 IP)

Today’s Game

  • Is 51-39 with a 4.07 ERA in 126 starts while owning 17-7 record with a 2.57 ERA through 188 relief appearances in his career.
  • In 2015 McHugh finished eighth in the American League Cy Young voting, pitching to a 3.89 ERA and a 19-7 record.
  • His last start came with Tampa Bay on September 30, 2021 against Houston; he pitched a clean inning.
  • In seven starts with the Rays he did not allow a run through 12.0 innings pitched.
  • McHugh did not pitch more than 2.0 frames in any start with TB.
  • His 2.21 ERA over the past three combined seasons (since 2021) is the fifth lowest in baseball (min. 100 games).
  • Pitched in three games on Atlanta’s opening road trip before landing on the Injured List on April 6, diagnosed with right shoulder inflammation… Pitched in two games with High-A Rome as part of his rehab assignment, tossing 4.2 scoreless innings with four strikeouts…Went 3.0 innings in his most recent rehab outing on April 21.
  • 2023 is his 11th MLB season…Finished 2022 with a 2.60 ERA and a 3-2 record in his first season with Atlanta.
  • In 48 outings (59.0 IP) after May 6 last season, he pitched to a 1.98 ERA.
  • In 2022, Stranded 28 of 38 inherited runners for a 73.7% strand rate…The 38 inherited runners were tied for the most in the NL and his strand rate is the third highest among NL pitchers (min. 30 IR).

TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES:

THE LATEST: The Blue Jays came back for a 5-2 win over the Braves yesterday, their 9th comeback win of the season…Improved to 9-4-0 in series play this year, now a perfect 5-0-0 at home…Have twice previously won at least five consecutive home series to begin a campaign, taking five in 2001 and winning six in a row to start the 1990 season (courtesy Stats Perform). Toronto has now won 14 of its last 22 games and 22 of its last 35…Can complete its 3rd sweep of the season with a win this afternoon.

BERRÍ GOOD HERE: José Berríos gave up two runs on six hits and three walks over 5.2 frames with three strikeouts yesterday… Is now 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA (3 ER/17.2 IP) across his three home starts.

BICHETTE HAPPENS: Bo Bichette plated a run with a single in the 5th inning yesterday before putting the Blue Jays in front, 3-2, with another RBI single in the 7th…Went 2-for-4 on the day with two RBI, his 15th multi-hit effort of the year, tied for 1st in the AL with Marcus Semien. The shortstop has gone 54-for-166 (.325) with nine doubles, eight homers, and 26 RBI while playing in all 39 games this season…Leads the Majors with 54 hits (2nd: Ronald Acuña Jr. – 52) and 87 total bases (2nd: Acuña Jr. – 85)…Is currently sitting 3rd in the AL in batting average (.325) and T-10th in home runs.

VLAD TIMING: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. doubled in the 4th inning and came around to score Toronto’s 1st run yesterday… Later drove in a run with a sac fly in the 7th, finishing 1-for-2 with a walk…Has reached base in 18 straight games, the 3rd-longest active on-base streak in the AL…Has batted .286 (20-for-70) with nine doubles, four homers, 13 RBI, and seven walks over that stretch (.948 OPS). The 24-year old is now 45-for-144 with 10 doubles, seven homers, 22 RBI, and a 16BB/22K ratio for a .313 AVG (7th in the AL), a .919 OPS (7th), and a .392 OBP (9th)…His 45 hits are tied for 7th most in the AL while his 76 total bases rank T-10th…Has recorded an MLB-leading 70 hard-hit balls (95+ MPH) this season.

OH KK THEN: Kevin Kiermaier doubled down the left-field line in the 3rd inning before doubling to right in the 5th…Also singled in the 7th, stole a base, and scored a pair of runs, finishing the game 3-for-4, his 10th multi-hit and 2nd three-hit game of the season (also: 3-for-5 on April 9 at LAA)…Is now batting .311 (33-for-106) this year with eight doubles, two triples, two home runs, and 12 RBI (.857 OPS)…His 29 hits while batting 9th are the most in the Majors (2nd: Michael A. Taylor – 23).

FEELING RIGHT AT HOME: Jordan Romano earned his 10th save of the season with a 1-2-3 9th inning yesterday (1.0, 2K)…Has not allowed a run in his seven home appearances this year, tossing 7.0 scoreless frames with three hits, one walk, and nine strikeouts…Has gone 5-for-5 in save opportunities while keeping a 0.57 WHIP and a .125 opponents’ average.

AT DOME FOR DAYS: The Blue Jays are on a 10-day, 10-game homestand (2-0 so far)…Have gone 11-3 so far at Rogers Centre, winning 11 of their first 14 home contests for the only time in team history…The .786 win% at home is 2nd best in MLB (TB – .864)…After this weekend series with the Braves, will host the Yankees (23-18) for four nights and then the Orioles (26-13) for three games next weekend. Toronto batters rank 4th in the AL in home OBP (.341), while sitting 5th in home AVG (.260), 5th in home OPS (.745), and 9th in home SLG (.404)…The pitching
staff ranks 1st among all MLB teams with a 2.51 ERA (2nd: TB – 2.52) and a .183 opponents’ average (2nd: TB – .189) during home contests, while sitting 2nd with a 1.02 WHIP (1st: TB – 1.00).

HITTING IT: The Blue Jays have notched 344 hits so far this season, 5th most in the AL…Are also 5th in the AL in team batting average (.257), 6th in OBP (.331), 6th in SLG (.413), and 6th in OPS (.744). The Blue Jays are one of two AL teams who have scored in every game this season (also: LAA)…Have gone 57 straight games without being shut out, the 2nd-longest active streak in the Majors (LAA – 81G).

INTERTAINMENT: Toronto is playing its 4th interleague series of the year and its 3rd straight series vs. an NL opponent – its longest such streak since playing nine games in a row against NL teams from May 27-June 5, 2013…Led the AL with 13 interleague wins last season, which was one off the franchise’s all-time single-season record, set in 2021 (14)…Since the beginning of the 2021 campaign, Toronto’s .660 win% in Interleague Play (33-17) is 3rd best among all MLB clubs (TB – .714, LAD – .675). The Blue Jays have hit 654 home runs all-time in Interleague Play, the most among all 30 teams (2nd: CWS – 619).

WALK THIS WAY: Blue Jays batters have drawn multiple walks in 26 straight games, the longest single-season streak in club history (23G from May 1-26, 1980), and their 2nd-longest overall (46 games from Sept. 5, 1993 to April 27, 1994)…Marks the longest multi-BB streak by any team this season (2nd: MIN – 23G)…Their 136 free passes for the year are tied for 4th most in the AL.

VS. THE BRAVES: All-Time: 33-30
2023: 2-0 Home: 17-11
Home: 2-0 Rogers Centre: 14-11
The Blue Jays are now 33-30 in regular season games all-time vs. the Braves (4-2 in the postseason)… Last met in 2021, winning all three meetings at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, FL, and all three at Truist Park…Outscored the Braves, 43-20, across the six contests…Last met here at Rogers Centre in August of 2019, splitting the two games. George Springer recorded his first two home runs as a Blue Jay against the Braves in Dunedin on May 1, 2021…Has now gone 17-for-47 (.362) with two doubles, five homers, and 10 RBI for a 1.157 OPS in his 12 career games vs. Atlanta. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has now met the Braves 14 times in his career, batting .294 (15-for-51) with five doubles, a home run, eight RBI, and eight walks (.393 OBP, .451 SLG). Brandon Belt leads all current Blue Jays with 63 career games vs. ATL…Is 48-for-193 (.249) with 10 doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, and 23 RBI (.845 OPS)

STARTING PITCHER – Yusei Kikuchi, LHP #16
TODAY’S GAME: Making his 8th start of the season and his 3rd at Rogers Centre…Improved to 5-0 his last time out on 5/7 at PIT, tossing 6.1 shutout frames with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts…Marked his longest outing as a Blue Jay, and his 3rd quality start this season. Is 1 of 3 AL hurlers with at least 5 wins and no losses this season, joining Shane McClanahan (7-0) and Gerrit Cole (5-0).

2023 HIGHLIGHTS:
Took a no-decision on 5/2 at BOS, giving up 5 runs on a season-high-tying 9 hits with a pair of strikeouts. Improved to 4-0 on 4/26 vs. CWS, throwing 5.2 frames of shutout ball while scattering four singles and a walk along with eight strikeouts…Has allowed one run or fewer in four of his five starts this year while the Blue Jays have won all five of his outings. Earned his 3rd win of the year on 4/21 at NYY, tossing 6.0 frames of one-run ball with 4 hits, 2 walks, and 3 strikeouts…Has back-to-back starts of 6.0+ innings and 0-or-1 runs allowed for the first time since 6/18-25 of his 2021 All-Star campaign. Improved to 2-0 on 4/15 vs. TB, throwing 6.0 innings of one-run ball with 4 hits, a walk, and a season-high 9 strikeouts…Marked his most punchouts in a single game as a Blue Jay…Completed 6.0 frames for the 1st time since 6/30/22 vs. TB. Took a no-decision on 4/9 at LAA, giving up 6 runs on 9 hits and a walk over 4.1 innings with 6 strikeouts…Threw 99 pitches (59 strikes) on the day, his most pitches in a single outing since 7/28/21 vs. HOU (101). Picked up the win in his season debut on 4/4 at KC, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball with 3 hits, a walk, and 2 strikeouts…Was his 1st start since 8/15/22 vs. BAL, and his 1st win as a starter since 7/28/22 vs. DET.

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