In the immortal words of Crash Davis, “this is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball. You hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains.” And yesterday it rained in Chicago. We had our money on the Dodgers and Kenta Maeda as they were in Chicago to face the Cubs and Tyler Chatwood. But alas, that fantastic midwestern weather rained the game out, and we were refunded our money. We will use those refunded funds today as we look at the game between the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Atlanta Braves head to Toronto Tuesday for a quick two-game set with the Blue Jays. The Braves are heating back up after stumbling a bit to start the month of June. With this recent five wins in six games stretch, the Braves have extended their lead in the National League East Division to three and a half games, and they now have the best record in the National League. The Blue Jays have played some solid baseball as well recently as they have won seven out of their last ten games.
Starting tonight for the Braves is rookie Mike Soroka (2-1 2.57 ERA), and for the Blue Jays, it is Jaime Garcia (2-5 5.71 ERA). The Braves are small -112 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:07 PM PST from the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
The Atlanta Braves are continuing to prove the haters wrong as they keep on winning games. Every time they lose a couple of games the critics are quick to say this team is too young and inexperienced and that they are going to have to come back to earth at some point. And yet here they are, with the best record in the National League and finding ways to win games every day. I feel like there is likely some truth to the hate as it is very unlikely that Atlanta will continue to win at this high of a rate all season long, especially without rookie sensation Ronald Acuna Jr in the lineup.
Acuna Jr. sprained his left knee running out an infield single and has been out since May 27th. Not having his bat in the lineup certainly hurt the Braves as they have struggled somewhat without him in the lineup. But he is rehabbing now and is expected to start a minor league rehab stint very shortly and hopes to be back with the team in a couple weeks. In the meantime, this Braves starting pitching has picked up the slack in a big way, and they are winning games.
Starting tonight for Atlanta is Mike Soroka. Soroka is one of the highest ranked prospects in all of baseball and has had a solid start to his big-league career. Soroka spent some time on the disabled list early this year, but in his last start, his first since returning from the DL, he impressed. Soroka actually had a no-hitter going through six innings in his last start against the New York Mets. So, I think any concerns about him coming off the DL and being rusty were quickly put to bed. In four career starts, the recent first-round draft pick is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA. Another “Baby” Brave getting the job done on the big-league level.
The Blue Jays will turn to Jaime Garcia tonight in game one. Garcia has had a very mediocre start to his season. After winning his first two decisions, he has now lost his last five decisions, and the Blue Jays have lost four out of his last five starts. Not only has Garcia been very average at best, he can’t get deep into games. He has failed to make it out of the sixth inning in nine of his twelve starts this season. In three of those starts, he couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning. It will be interesting to see if Garcia can survive tonight against this Braves team that is fourth in the majors in runs scored.
While the Blue Jays have played decent ball recently, don’t let that small run fool you. This is a bad team. The Jays are five games under .500 and a whopping fifteen games behind the New York Yankees for the AL East Division lead. It is only a matter of time before they start tearing this team apart. There are trade rumors swirling around many of the Blue Jays best players, including Josh Donaldson and JA Happ. If the Blue Jays want to save some of their best players, they need to win and win now. And I just don’t think they have the talent to get the job done right now.
This game clearly leans towards the Braves for me. They have the better starter on the mound, they have the better lineup on the field, and they are the better overall team. I guess the fact that they are on the road has kept this line manageable for Atlanta? But when you look at Atlanta’s record, they are five games over .500 on the road. The Blue Jays? They are just 19-19 in Toronto. So, playing up north doesn’t scare me off of taking the clearly better side in this one. Give me the Atlanta Braves tonight in game one at -112!