Friday, April 17, 2015

Braves head north to begin road trip, face Blue Jays

On the heels of their first losing streak and first series loss of the young season, the Braves head north of the border to Toronto to begin a nine-games-in-10-days road trip on Friday at Rogers Centre. It'll be the third time in four years that the teams will get together, with the Braves holding a 7-3 advantage, although the last time in Toronto, they split a two-game set in 2013.
It's a matchup of Opening Day starters, as Atlanta hands the ball to 24-year-old right-hander Julio Teheran (2-0, 1.50 ERA), while the Blue Jays start Drew Hutchison (1-0, 6.97 ERA). Teheran has looked like an ace in both of his starts, allowing one earned run in six innings in each start, beating the Marlins in Miami and the Mets at Turner Field. He has something of an axe to grind with the Blue Jays, as his one career start against them on June 10, 2012, saw him go 4 1/3 innings and allow four runs on four hits. It was only the fourth start of Teheran's career.
Hutchison has had mixed results in his two starts this season. He beat the Yankees at Yankee stadium on Opening Day, allowing a run and three hits over six, but he allowed seven runs (all earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 against Baltimore in his next start, receiving a no-decision. Like Teheran, Hutchison has a bone to pick with the Braves after his one career appearance against them, a loss on June 9, 2012, in which he allowed five runs (all earned) and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-3 loss at Turner Field.
Three things you need to know:
1. Atlanta, which had apparently shed its home run approach for small ball, rediscovered its power stroke against the Marlins. The Braves mashed four homers in the final two games of the series, the same number they had in their first seven games. Of course, they might want to return to the little stuff, as the home runs accounted for all of their runs in back-to-back losses. They were 6-1 over their first seven games.
2. The Braves combo of National League Gold Glove Award-winning shortstop Andrelton Simmons and rookie second baseman Jace Peterson have anchored a defense that has turned 14 double plays in nine games. That's second in the Majors only to San Francisco's 15.
3. One is the loneliest number, and least favorite, for the Blue Jays, who have had a real tough time in close games. Toronto is 0-3 in one-run games and dating back to last season, the Blue Jays have been on the short end in 10 of their last 12 one-run contests.

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