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Preview: Blue Jays (82-61) at Braves (56-88)
Venue: Turner Field
Date: September 15, 2015 7:10 PM EDT
Though Troy Tulowitzki is out for at least two weeks, the Toronto Blue Jays are hoping to get Edwin Encarnacion back much sooner.
That return could come as early as Tuesday night’s opener against the dreadful Atlanta Braves.
Tulowitzki could sit out for up to three weeks because of a cracked left shoulder blade, an injury he suffered in a collision with teammate Kevin Pillar in Saturday’s opener to a doubleheader against the New York Yankees.
Encarnacion aggravated a sore left middle finger in the finale and was held out Sunday. With those absences, the AL East-leading Blue Jays (82-61) couldn’t complete a four-game sweep of the second-place Yankees, losing 5-0.
Encarnacion is among three Toronto players with more than 30 homers and he’s topped that mark for the fourth consecutive season. He needs one RBI to reach 100 for the third time in that span.
“I think it’s just going to be a day or two … so I would expect and hope that (Encarnacion is) back during the Atlanta series,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos told MLB’s official website Sunday. “We don’t expect it to be too long.”
With their slugger’s status uncertain, the Blue Jays will try to pad their division lead in a three-game series against one of the NL’s worst clubs. Atlanta (56-88) has lost a franchise-worst 12 straight at home and 24 of 27 overall.
The Braves blew a three-run lead in the ninth Sunday in a 10-7, 10-inning loss to the Mets.
“It doesn’t matter if we’ve lost 12 in a row or won 12 in a row,” first baseman Freddie Freeman said. “You have to have the same attitude, keep grinding and hopefully the tide turns on Tuesday.”
Mark Buehrle (14-7, 3.72 ERA) makes just his second start this month as he’s been dealing with a shoulder issue and hasn’t pitched since an 11-4 loss in Boston on Sept. 7.
The left-hander was pushed back again in the Jays’ rotation after getting a cortisone shot last Tuesday.
Buehrle gave up five runs in 3 1-3 innings in his latest start and has gone 1-2 with a 6.98 ERA in his last four. He’s 0-2 with a 9.45 ERA in his past three on the road after going 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA in his first 12 there this season.
He is 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA in seven career starts against Atlanta, the most recent coming in May 2013.
Julio Teheran (10-7, 4.38) has given up two runs over 13 innings in his past two starts and earned his first win in his last three Wednesday, throwing seven innings of one-run ball in an 8-1 victory over Philadelphia.
He was charged with five runs in five innings of an 8-7 victory over Toronto on April 17. Teheran has posted an 8.68 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays.
He’s 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA in four interleague outings and gave up eight runs over 4 1-3 innings in his latest, a 20-6 loss to the Yankees on Aug. 30.
Josh Donaldson hit two home runs off the right-hander in the April matchup and went 5 of 13 with three home runs as the Blue Jays dropped two of three to Atlanta.
The Braves’ Nick Markakis was 7 for 10 in that series and Freeman went 5 for 11 with two homers, giving him a .500 average in his last eight games against Toronto.