Improved Braves getting another crack at Blue Jays


The visiting Toronto Blue Jays might be seeing a different Atlanta Braves club on Tuesday than the one they swept less than two weeks ago.

The Blue Jays defeated the Braves three times in the most recent series between the teams, casting Atlanta into a four-game losing streak. Since then, though, the Braves have won five of six and just took two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies, including Saturday’s dramatic victory that saw them score four times in the bottom of the 12th inning.

“Now we’re starting to look like us,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ve been fighting through things and now the energy, the come-from-behind, just the — I don’t know — the vibe is different right now than it was a couple of days ago.”

The Blue Jays have been unable to build on the success against the Braves. They are 3-4 since then and lost two of three over the weekend at Houston. The three games in Atlanta will be the conclusion of a 10-game road trip.

Both teams are among the best when it comes to going deep. Going into Monday’s MLB games, Atlanta had a major league best 49 homers and Toronto was second with 48.

The Blue Jays are led by Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette, who both have eight homers, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. with seven and Randal Grichuk with six. Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo has moved Grichuk around in the lineup and he continues to produce.

“He’s done a god job,” Montoyo said. “He deserves a lot of credit because wherever I put him, he’s having a good year.”

Atlanta’s top sluggers are Ronald Acuna Jr. (10 homers), Freddie Freeman (nine) and Ozzie Albies (five).

Left-hander Robbie Ray (1-1, 3.14 ERA) will make the start for Toronto, but Atlanta has yet to name a starter. The Braves will start Max Fried on Wednesday and Charlie Morton on Thursday and could call up one of two right-handers for Tuesday’s game: Bryse Wilson or Kyle Wright.

Despite the Blue Jays’ pitching issues, Ray has been consistent all season. He’s worked at last five innings in each of his five starts and has not allowed more than three runs in any outing. In his last appearance May 5 at Oakland, he allowed three runs in six innings and struck out nine, but he did not receive a decision.

Ray beat the Braves on April 30 when he went 6 2/3 innings and allowed two runs on five hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Ray has made five career starts against the Braves and has a record of 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA.

The Braves took a step toward bolstering its bullpen by signing Shane Greene to a one-year deal at a reported $1.5 million. Greene made 28 appearances with the Braves last season and posted a 2.60 ERA. He will spend some time with Triple-A Gwinnett and there is no timetable for his return.

Greene will join Chris Martin as the only remaining pieces of the four-man right-handed portion of that bullpen from 2020. Mark Melancon and Darren O’Day signed with other clubs and Greene was awaiting a deal. Martin has been out since early April with right shoulder inflammation and is expected back soon.

–Field Level Media

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