Blue Jays-Brewers Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated June 17, 2012
The Toronto Blue Jays bounced back from a recent slump with the help of Colby Rasmus, who continues to swing a hot bat from second slot in the batting order. Given his success against Milwaukee Brewers starter Randy Wolf, the Blue Jays may be poised to halt another dubious stretch of futility. Toronto looks to end a 10-game skid in Milwaukee dating back nearly 16 years when it visits the Brewers in the opener of a three-game set Monday night. The Blue Jays (34-32) had lost six of seven heading into their three-game weekend series against Philadelphia, but they rebounded to sweep the Phillies, winning Sunday's finale 6-2. Rasmus went 5 for 9 over the final two games, hitting a two-run homer Sunday. "Just an outstanding day. There were a number of balls he ran down in the center field," manager John Farrell told the Blue Jays' official website. "He's swinging the bat with a lot of confidence." He especially has reason to be confident in the No. 2 hole. Rasmus is hitting .356 with seven homers in 15 games batting second, compared to a .211 average and three homers in any other spot in the lineup. "I hoped I would get back to being myself and driving the baseball and having fun," Rasmus said. "(I'm) taking that approach up there against those pitchers and being able to battle with what I think I can do." Rasmus is 4 for 7 with a triple and a homer lifetime off Wolf (2-5, 5.06 ERA), who looks to help the Brewers beat Toronto for the 11th consecutive time in Milwaukee. The Blue Jays' last road victory in the series was July 14, 1996, when the Brewers called County Stadium home and played in the American League. Milwaukee has also won nine of the last 10 overall meetings with Toronto, including a three-game sweep at Miller Park from June 17-19, 2008, when the teams last met. Wolf, though, is 0-3 with a 4.10 ERA in eight starts since beating San Diego on April 30. He's pitched better of late, allowing an unearned run in 6 2-3 innings against the Chicago Cubs on June 7 before giving up one run in seven innings versus Kansas City on Thursday. The veteran left-hander is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in two career starts against the Blue Jays, but hasn't faced them since July 14, 2000, while pitching for Philadelphia. The Brewers (30-36) have lost four of six after falling 5-4 in 15 innings to Minnesota on Sunday. Corey Hart's three-run homer came in a losing cause, but manager Ron Roenicke took some positives from the defeat. "I like the fact that we had a lot of baserunners, we had a lot of chances,'' Roenicke said. ''I like the fact our pitching is still throwing the ball great. Our bullpen was really good today.'' Ryan Braun went 1 for 7 in the long contest to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, during which he's hitting .346 with five homers. He'll look to stay hot Sunday against struggling Henderson Alvarez, who will be making his first start versus Milwaukee. Alvarez (3-6, 3.87) is 0-4 with a 5.50 ERA in six starts since beating Minnesota on May 10. He allowed four runs - all coming on three home runs - in seven innings of Wednesday's 4-2 loss to Washington.
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