The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are set to battle this weekend with the lead for the division on the line.
The Toronto Blue Jays (57-45) will host the division leading Baltimore Orioles (58-43) for an important three game series this weekend. With Toronto playing to a 14-6 record in July, while Baltimore has played to a 11-11 record, the Blue Jays have picked up 4.0 games to cut the Orioles’ lead to 1.5 games coming into Friday.
Toronto is playing to a 30-23 record at home in the Rogers Centre this season. While the Orioles have not been nearly as impressive on the road as they have at home in 2016, with a 21-27 record.
TOR- (Starters) 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 1.20 HR/9, 8.4 K/9, .237/.291/.397
BAL- (Starters) 4.94 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 1.30 HR/9, 7.2 K/9, .273/.341/.456
TOR – (Relievers) 4.10 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 1.22 HR/9, 8.8 K/9, .255/.317/.420
BAL – (Relievers) 2.99 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 0.84 HR/9, 8.2 K/9, .238/.314/.373
Toronto – R/G 4.90 – .251/.331/.436 – 340 XBH – 8.2 K/G
Baltimore – R/G 4.80 – .265/.325/.451 – 335 XBH – 8.3 K/G
History: The Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles have a long and storied history with each other. Including some memorable battles for the division crown. Over the past 40 seasons the two teams have played each other 591 times with Toronto having the edge 315-276 in the all-time series. The Blue Jays have played the Orioles particularly tough in Toronto holding a lopsided record of 174-118. The two teams have played to a 5-5 record over 10 games in 2016, with Toronto having won the last series at Rogers Centre 3 games to 1.
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
M. Estrada RHP (2016: 5-4, 2.94 ERA) vs. K. Gausman RHP (2016: 2-7, 3.77 ERA)
Marco Estrada takes the ball and his (5-4, 2.94 ERA, 1.006 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) record to the mound on Friday night to kick off the series.
Estrada has a career record of (2-1, 3.38 ERA, 1.152 WHIP, 8.7 K/9) against the Orioles, with a (2-3, 2.50 ERA, 0.936 WHIP, 8.7 K/9) record at home in 2016.
The Orioles will counter with Kevin Gausman. Gausman (2-7, 3.77 ERA, 1.266 WHIP, 8.5 K/9) has been a hard luck pitcher for the Orioles this season.
The young RHP has a career record of (2-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.278 WHIP, 7.5 K/9) against the Blue Jays, but has been touched up away from OPACY this season to the tune of a (0-6, 4.94 ERA, 1.463 WHIP, 9.9 K/9) record.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
J. Happ RHP (2016: 13-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. Y. Gallardo RHP (2016: 3-2, 5.37 ERA)
Saturday’s afternoon game will see lefty J.A. Happ take the hill for Toronto. Happ (13-3, 3.27 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, 7.3 K/9) has been quietly steady for the Blue Jays this season and will look to put them in position for another win.
Over his career the Illinois native has a (3-3, 3.76 ERA, 1.345 WHIP, 9.3 K/9) record against Baltimore, and is (8-1, 3.22 ERA, 1.261 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) at home in the Rogers Centre in 2016.
Baltimore will give their struggling free agent acquisition Yovani Gallardo the ball to oppose Happ and the Jays. Gallardo (3-2, 5.37 ERA, 1.629 WHIP, 6.2 K/9) has struggled to get deep into games this season.
The RHP has pitched well against Toronto (4-0, 1.78 ERA, 1.145 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) over his career, however, he is currently carrying a (1-2, 6.94 ERA, 1.743 WHIP, 5.9 K/9) record on the road this season.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
A. Sanchez RHP (2016: 11-1, 2.72 ERA) vs. C. Tillman RHP (2016: 14-3, 3.47 ERA)
The last game of the season will see staff ace Aaron Sanchez straddle the rubber for Toronto. Sanchez (11-1, 2.72 ERA, 1.149 WHIP, 7.8 K/9) is the midst of an incredible stretch, and will be looking to carry forward against the Orioles on Sunday.
The young RHP has not fared too well (3-2, 5.34 ERA, 1.813 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) against Baltimore over his career.
Sanchez comes into Sunday’s start with a (4-1, 3.56 ERA, 1.275 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) record at home in 2016.
The Orioles will counter with their own staff ace Chris Tillman. Tillman (14-3, 3.47 ERA, 1.217 WHIP, 7.6 K/9) has found his form from 2013 which saw him win 16 games.
The California native has been beat up by Toronto over his career to a (5-10, 5.71 ERA, 1.357 WHIP, 6.4 K/9) record, and has a 4.91 ERA this season in 2 starts facing the Blue Jays.
Tillman holds a (6-2, 3.12 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 6.2 K/9) record away from Baltimore in 2016.
Player(s) to Watch:
Devon Travis – the second baseman has got better and better at the plate this season. His last 10 games have seen him hit 378/439/486 to help boost his season totals to 286/332/449 (6 HR/24 RBI). Travis has also hit well against Baltimore this season with a 333/348/714 (1 HR/7 RBI) slash line. He could very well play a big part in this series.
Michael Saunders – the Canadian is having himself a career year at the plate 284/364/546 (19 HR/46 RBI) and has beaten up the Orioles pitching staff this season with an astounding 475/511/1000 (5 HR/12 RBI) slash line.
Edwin Encarnacion – the 1B/DH is putting up another impressive season as his 262/353/537 (27 HR/87 RBI) can attest. It was the Baltimore series in Toronto that got him rolling earlier this season and he has feasted on their staff to an impressive 333/457/667 (3HR/10 RBI) over 10 games in 2016.
Manny Machado – the slick fielding third baseman is hitting 311/369/552 (21 HR/57 RBI) in 2016, and has torched the Blue Jays staff to the tune of 462/500/795 (2 HR/7 RBI) in 10 games this season.
Chris Davis – the slugging 1B is mired in a terrible slump, hitting .145 over his last 19 games, but is still hitting 223/338/461 (22 HR/59 RBI) this season. Davis loves Blue Jays pitching, and his 323/465/806 (4 HR/11 RBI) slash line against them in 2016 show that.
Mark Trumbo – the hard-hitting OF has been among the league leaders in home runs this season and is currently slashing 273/328/549 (30 HR/78 RBI) this season. Despite his measly .205 BA versus Toronto this season, he does have the power to turn a game in a hurry.
*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: freaktography (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.