After beginning the 2017 season with a six-game road trip, the Toronto Blue Jays return to the Rogers Centre on Tuesday to kick off a nine-game homestand as they host the Milwaukee Brewers for their home opener.
The team will be looking to rebound quickly after two disappointing series’ against the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays that has them sitting in the cellar of the AL East at 1-5. Their record is tied with the Atlanta Braves for the worst in the majors thus far, which is something fans certainly don’t want to hear.
Luckily, the 2-5 Brewers are in the middle of an organizational rebuild, so a two-game sweep isn’t out of the question and would be exactly what the team needs as they play in front of their own fans for the first time this season.
Toronto and Milwaukee have faced off 280 times in their history, with the Brewers leading at 161-119 (77-65 in Toronto). Since the Brewers moved to the National League in 1998, the two teams have only played one another a total of 13 times. Although Milwaukee leads 8-5 in those games, the Blue Jays won the most recent meeting as they swept a two-game series at Rogers Centre in 2014.
Although the Blue Jays are returning to Toronto with just one win in six games, their starting rotation has performed well outside of Francisco Liriano’s shelling against the Rays on Friday. Excluding his stats, the team’s starters have combined for a 3.08 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and .226 opponent batting average thus far.
“The rotation is one of our strengths,” manager John Gibbons told the Toronto Sun. “You eliminate what happened to Liriano and they were all very good. If they hold up health wise, most nights they are going to give us a chance and hold the other team in check.”
The Blue Jays will give the ball to J.A. Happ for Tuesday night’s home opener, who gave up three earned runs in seven innings in his last start against the O’s. The lefty holds a 3-4 record with a 6.13 ERA and 1.66 WHIP against the Brewers but hasn’t faced them since 2014. Additionally, he went 11-2 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.33 WHIP at the Rogers Centre in 2016.
Facing off against him will be Wily Peralta. The righty last pitched against the Colorado Rockies where he recorded a win after giving up three hits over five scoreless innings. Since entering the league in 2012, Peralta has only faced the Blue Jays once in 2014. During that outing, he received the loss after giving up four runs on nine hits over six innings. Last season, Peralta went 2-6 with a 4.39 ERA and 1.59 WHIP on the road.
The Blue Jays will look to record a victory in their home opener for the first time since their 13-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in 2011.