Published February 05, 2015
(SportsNetwork.com) - Shut out in their third straight loss to cap the weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays hope to have a little more pop in their lineup on Tuesday afternoon when they begin a quick two-game set with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Though still leading the AL East, Toronto has lost four of its last five games and was without slugger Jose Bautista in the starting lineup for a seventh straight game in Sunday's 4-0 defeat to the Chicago White Sox.
Bautista has been out with a strained left hamstring, but was able to make a pinch-hit appearance in the loss. He grounded into a fielder's choice.
Owner of a .304 average and 15 homers through 78 games, Bautista could make his first start since June 22 today.
"Everybody knows I can't go out on the field and not be 100 percent," Bautista said on Toronto's official website. "Hopefully by Tuesday I feel better and I can be in the outfield. If not, I can DH the whole game and play the day after.
"I did all the testing that I could've done in order to see if I could pinch- hit (Sunday)."
Drew Hutchison would love to see Bautista in the lineup as the Toronto right- hander tries to avoid a third straight losing start.
Both of Hutchison's recent setbacks came at the hands of the New York Yankees, who got to him for a total of eight runs and 13 hits while drawing six walks over 10 1/3 innings in the two games.
Hutchison fell to 5-6 with a 4.00 earned run average on the year, including a mark of 1-4 with an 8.13 ERA in six starts at home.
The 23-year-old is set to face Milwaukee for the first time and will go up against Marco Estrada, a winner in two straight.
Estrada snapped a two-start losing streak on June 20 in Colorado despite giving up seven runs over 5 2/3 innings. His offense took him off the hook in a 13-10 decision before the righty rebounded with a solid victory over Washington on Wednesday.
In the 9-2 win, Estrada gave up two runs on two hits and four walks over 6 1/3 innings, improving to 7-4 with a 5.06 ERA on the year.
"This was a real important outing for (Estrada). It's important for him to get back into that mode and pitch the way we know he can," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.
The 30-year-old has never faced Toronto.
Estrada's win over Washington kick started a four-game winning streak that came to an end with Sunday's 10-4 loss to the Rockies. Ryan Braun homered in defeat, while Yovani Gallardo yielded eight runs -- five earned -- over five innings.
Neither shortstop Jean Segura (leg cramps) or center fielder Carlos Gomez (strained neck) started Sunday's loss, but both could return to the lineup today.
The Brewers, who are making their first trip to Toronto since 2005, are 7-2 against the Blue Jays since moving to the National League in 1998.