Series preview: Braves at Blue Jays
When (TV): 7:07 p.m. Monday, 12:37 p.m. Tuesday (SPSO)
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Monday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (4-3, 4.98 ERA) vs. LH Mark Buehrle (1-3, 5.90)
Tuesday: Braves LH Paul Maholm (6-4, 3.38) vs. RH Brandon Morrow (2-3, 5.50)
About the Braves:
Batting: Freddie Freeman was 12-for-34 (.353) with six walks, a homer and 11 RBIs in his past nine games before Sunday and led the National League with a .486 average with runners in scoring position. Ramiro Pena was 7-for-18 with three extra-base hits in the past six games in which he batted. After going 0-for-17 in his first six games in May, Chris Johnson was 13-for-24 (.542) with a homer and five RBIs in his past eight games before Sunday. He had a team-high .380 road average (30-for-79).
Pitching: Hudson is 0-2 with an 8.56 ERA and .350 opponents’ average in his past three starts, lasting five innings or fewer in each. He gave up eight hits and two runs in five innings for no decision Tuesday vs. Minnesota. Hudson has a team-high .378 opponents’ average with runners in scoring position. Against the Blue Jays, he’s 11-3 with a 2.79 ERA in 16 starts, including 5-2 with a 4.21 ERA in eight at Toronto. In his only start against them since 2008, he pitched eight scoreless innings (two hits) in a home win in 2011. Maholm is 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays.
Miscellaneous: The Braves are 8-1 against Toronto over the past five seasons. Reed Johnson, who played his first five seasons for the Jays, has a .291 average with 94 extra-base hits (24 homers) in 307 games at Toronto. Gerald Laird has hit .327 with two homers and nine RBIs in 15 games at Toronto. Against Buehrle, Johnson is 13-for-37 (.351), Justin Upton is 3-for-6 with a homer, Brian McCann is 4-for-11, and Jason Heyward is 3-for-12 with a homer and five strikeouts.
About the Blue Jays:
Batting: Jose Bautista had a .382 average with four homers, 15 RBIs and a .495 OBP in 22 games in May before Sunday and a .386 average with five homers, a .516 OBP and a .657 slugging percentage in 20 home games. Melky Cabrera, a one-time Brave, hit .345 with 11 extra-base hits in 22 May games before Sunday. Cabrera is 12-for-30 (.400) with six extra-base hits (two homers) in nine career games against the Braves, much of that with San Francisco in 2012 before his steroids suspension.
Pitching: Buehrle is 0-3 with a 6.92 ERA in his past six starts and 0-1 with a 3.92 ERA and poor run support in his past three home starts. The lefty is 3-2 with a 4.84 ERA in six career starts against the Braves, including 1-2 with a 5.91 ERA in four last season when he pitched for the Marlins. Right-handed batters have hit .293 with a .349 OBP against him this season, and Buehrle is 1-3 with a 7.57 ERA and 10 homers allowed in six night games. Morrow hasn’t faced the Braves.
Miscellaneous: Colby Rasmus, the brother of Braves rookie reliever Cory Rasmus, is 5-for-11 with a homer and five strikeouts against Hudson. The former Cardinals outfielder has a .292 average with four homers, 11 RBIs and a .400 OBP in 20 games against the Braves. Utility man Mark DeRosa, a popular ex-Brave who still works out with members of the team in the offseason, has a .298 average with two homers, 16 RBIs and a .362 on-base percentage in 30 games against Atlanta.