Toronto looks to avoid a five-game losing streak in Atlanta on Tuesday night when the teams continue a three-game set.
Following a 2-1 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday, the Blue Jays (36-37) dropped Monday’s series opener 2-0. They mustered only two hits against the Braves and have seven total over their last 20 innings.
Not only did Atlanta starting pitcher Tim Hudson(notes) throw eight scoreless innings and retire 20 consecutive hitters at one point, but he also provided the game’s only offense with a two-run homer in the seventh.
The Blue Jays have scored three runs or fewer in four of their last five games, and they’ve been even worse in recent trips to Atlanta. During a four-game skid at Turner Field dating to 2009, Toronto has scored five total runs and has been shut out twice.
Jose Bautista(notes), who is still tied for the major league lead with 21 home runs but has only one in his last 21 games, went 0 for 4 on Monday and dropped to 1 for 12 in his last four matchups against the Braves.
“Those guys are getting pitched around, so everyone’s got to step it up or else we’re not going to keep winning ballgames,” Monday’s losing pitcher Ricky Romero(notes) said. “We’re going to keep losing ballgames like this. Like I said, this team doesn’t revolve around one or two guys. Everyone’s got to put in their part. That’s how we win ballgames.”
The sputtering offense hasn’t given much support to a starting rotation which has a 1.93 ERA and has pitched into the seventh inning of the last six games. That stretch includes a solid performance from Tuesday’s scheduled starter Zach Stewart(notes) (0-0, 2.57 ERA) in Toronto’s 4-3 loss to Baltimore on Thursday, when he allowed two runs in seven innings while making his major league debut.
The Braves (41-33) have won back-to-back games with solid pitching performances of their own after losing five of their previous six. Mike Minor(notes) (0-2, 5.47) will attempt to keep the trend going, though he’s winless in his last nine starts and coming off a rough outing.
The left-hander allowed five runs in 4 1-3 innings Thursday against the New York Mets, but Atlanta rallied to win 9-8 in 10 innings.
Chipper Jones(notes) is expected to rejoin the Braves’ lineup Tuesday after missing the last four games with a right adductor sprain suffered in Minor’s last start. He went 3 for 4 with a three-run home run and five RBIs before the injury occurred in the seventh inning.
Jones is batting .188 in 18 career games against Toronto.
“I could tell that it was better when I woke up (Monday),” Jones told the Braves’ official website. “Hopefully everything will keep moving in the right direction.”