What we're watching: Wolf looks to quiet Rockies

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– Joe Saunders returns after missing just three turns with shoulder tightness that he said had been a factor since spring training. The Angels have been pretty aggressive in handling him even though they still have the game’s second-best record and his health could play a huge role in determining their fortunes in October. Before being shut down following his Aug. 7 start, Saunders had given up at least four runs in eight straight outings, taking his ERA from 3.66 to 5.33. He’ll be facing the Tigers and Edwin Jackson.
– Also returning is knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who takes an 11-3 record into his start against the White Sox. It will be his first start since July 8. The Red Sox placed him on the DL after the break with a back strain, and he also struggled with a sore calf that developed during his rehab. He’s 7-0 with a 3.92 ERA at Fenway Park this season. Gavin Floyd will take the ball for the Pale Hose.
Game of the Night
Colorado vs. Los Angeles – We’ll go with this matchup again, since it worked out pretty well last night. The Rockies won that one 5-4 in 10 innings, moving them to within two games of the NL West lead. It’ll be Randy Wolf versus Josh Fogg in the middle contest of a three-game series. Wolf, whose early-season hard luck has all transferred over to Clayton Kershaw lately, has won three straight starts, with the Dodgers scoring nine runs in two of those games. He’s 8-6 with a 3.34 ERA overall. Fogg will be making his first start of the year after replacing the injured Aaron Cook in the rotation. He has a 2.25 ERA in 20 relief appearances.

Jose Bautista is starting at third base for the first time in over four years

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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista is getting a rare start at third base today. How rare is it? Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae notes that he last started at third base on April 14, 2013 against the Royals.

Bautista has played some third base already this year. On April 27 against the Cardinals, Bautista pinch-hit for third baseman Chris Coghlan and stayed in the game at the position. Last Saturday, Bautista moved from right field to third base as part of a handful of defensive switches. Overall, he’s played four defensive innings at the hot corner this season.

The Blue Jays have had to get creative at third base while Josh Donaldson has dealt with a calf injury. Darwin Barney and Chris Coghlan have drawn most of the starts at third base, but catcher Russell Martin started there on Sunday and tonight we’ll see Bautista there.

Braves’ bullpen hasn’t allowed a hit to last 54 batters, setting franchise record

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The Braves announced on Tuesday, citing Elias Sports, that the bullpen set a franchise record, preventing the last 54 batters faced from getting a hit.

The last reliever to allow a hit was Josh Collmenter to the first batter he faced against the Blue Jays last Thursday. Since then, the bullpen has logged 15 1/3 scoreless, hitless innings with a 10/4 K/BB ratio. Here are the logs since Collmenter gave up that hit.

Date Opp. Pitcher BF IP H R ER BB SO
May 18 vs. TOR Josh Collmenter 7 2.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 18 vs. TOR Ian Krol 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 19 vs. WAS Jason Motte 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 19 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 19 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Ian Krol 2 0.2 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Jason Motte 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 20 vs. WAS Arodys Vizcaino 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 20 vs. WAS Jim Johnson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 21 vs. WAS Luke Jackson 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jason Motte 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 2
May 22 vs. PIT Jose Ramirez 3 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
May 22 vs. PIT Arodys Vizcaino 4 1.0 0 0 0 1 1
May 22 vs. PIT Jim Johnson 4 1.0 0 0 0 0 0
TOTAL 54 15.1 0 0 0 4 10

Despite the hot streak lately, the Braves’ bullpen still ranks in the middle of the pack in ERA at 4.07. Its 21.3 percent strikeout rate ranks 18th out of 30 teams and its 8.6 percent walk rate is ninth.