Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Game 51 Preview: Atlanta Braves (30-20) at Toronto Blue Jays (22-29)

Pitching Probables:
LHP Paul Maholm (ATL) 6-4, 3.38 ERA
RHP Brandon Morrow (TOR) 2-3, 5.50 ERA

Today's Starting Lineups (12:37 pm ET, SportSouth):

Jordan Schafer - CF
Andrelton Simmons - SS
Jason Heyward - RF
Freddie Freeman - 1B
Evan Gattis - C
Brian McCann - DH
Dan Uggla - 2B 
Juan Francisco - 3B 
Reed Johnson - LF

Blue Jays:
Melky Cabrera - DH
Jose Bautista - RF
Edwin Encarnacion - 1B
JP Arencibia - C
Mark DeRosa - 3B
Colby Rasmus - CF
Maicer Izturis - SS
Emilio Bonifacio - 2B
Anthony Gose - LF

The opener of a quick two-game series in Toronto took a sour turn for the Braves. Blue Jays pounded out 9 runs via home runs from JP Arencibia, Edwin Encarnacion, and Colby Rasmus as the Blue Jays defeated the Braves 9-3.
In the second game of four between the two teams on Tuesday, the first two are in Toronto, while the final two games will be in Atlanta, Paul Maholm takes the mound against Brandon Morrow.
In his second year with the Braves (first full season), Maholm has proved himself of a useful left-handed starter. He has allowed two runs or less in seven of his ten starts this season, while posting a 3.38 ERA in 61 1/3  innings pitched. Maholm has given up just two home runs.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays are trying to get Brandon Morrow back on track, as the right-hander has hit a rough patch as of late. Morrow has allowed 11 earned runs on 17 hits over his last couple of starts. Opponents are hitting .282 off Morrow this season, almost 50 points higher than his career average (.235).

BJ Upton again not in lineup:
BJ Upton has struggled to say the least to begin his season, only hitting .148 with 4 home runs and 8 runs batted in in 44 games played. Upton, who signed a 5 year, $75.25 million contract with the Braves this past offseason, has just eight extra-base hits in 155 at-bats while striking out 60 times. 
He sat for the second time in three games on Monday as Greg Walker and BJ try to focus on reconstructing BJ's swing. BJ is one of the more hard-working players in the league and hopefully he can turn the corner and get going once he's back in the lineup.

Brett Lawrie leaves game with ankle injury:
As if Blue Jays had enough key guys get hurt, Brett Lawrie left last night's game after an awkward slide while stealing second base in the 6th inning left him with a sprained left ankle. Lawrie stayed in the game temporarily, but was removed after limping to third base on a ground ball. 
Lawrie, who is hitting .209 in 36 games this season, missed the first two weeks of the season with a strained oblique muscle. Mark DeRosa finished the game at third and will be in today's starting lineup for the Jays.

Side note:
Jason Heyward is back in the lineup and hitting 3rd after having the night off.
Braves RHP Brandon Beachy, recovering from Tommy John surgery, will start for Class A Rome on Wednesday. In his first rehab stint in Triple-A Gwinnett, Beachy went four innings and allowed two runs on two hits, walked three, and struck out three.
Paul Maholm has just two starts against the Blue Jays in his career, going 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
Brandon Morrow makes his first career start against the Braves this afternoon.

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