Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Happ, Butler square off in Jays-Rox series

The Blue Jays and Rockies continue their three-game Interleague series on Tuesday night with two starting pitchers -- J.A. Happ and Eddie Butler -- trending in opposite directions.
Happ's 3.42 ERA is his lowest in six seasons. He has held opponents to six earned runs in his last three starts spanning 19 innings, all of which earned him wins. On the road, where he has a 2.63 ERA, he has held opponents to three runs or fewer in seven of eight starts.
Butler, however, has allowed six earned runs in his last two outings and is a candidate to return to a long-relief role soon. Most of his struggles have come at home, where he has allowed 23 runs in 21 1/3 innings.
The Rockies rallied with a six-run seventh inning to win the series opener, 9-5, Monday night. It was shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's first game in Coors Field as a visitor, and he was cheered loudly after spending nearly 10 seasons with Colorado.
Things you should know about this game
• The Rockies' top hitters have struggled against Happ, who previously pitched in the National League for the Phillies and Pirates. Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado are both 1-for-6 against Happ, and Carlos Gonzalez is 2-for-9.
• After hitting just .145 (8-for-55) in his first 15 games since coming off the 15-day disabled list to start the season, Blue Jays second baseman Devon Travis is hitting .412 (21-for-51) with 10 extra-base hits and 12 RBIs in his last 13 games.
• Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak has been dealing with a sore left knee in recent days but has been cleared to play. He isn't expected to start this series, with Edwin Encarnacion taking the field with no DH in the NL ballpark, but Smoak is available off the bench. He's a career .254/.389/.407 hitter as a reserve.

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