The Toronto Blue Jays play host to their division rivals, Baltimore Orioles, for a four game series over the weekend.
The Toronto Blue Jays (1-7) are coming off a series sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers to open up the Rogers Centre this season. Baltimore (5-2) is currently leading the American League East Division, and are fresh off a series-split with the Boston Red Sox in Fenway.
History: The Blue Jays and the Orioles have played each other a total of 602 times, with the advantage in the all-time series going to Toronto at 320-282. Toronto has a 177-121 record at home since 1977. Baltimore took the first two games of the 2017 season.
Pitching: 2017 Totals
TOR – (Starters) 4.57 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 1.79 HR/9, 8.4 K/9, .260/.314/.492
BAL – (Starters) 4.86 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 0.73 HR/9, 7.3 K/9, .282/.360/.387
TOR – (Relievers) 3.67 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 0.33 HR/9, 9.0 K/9, .240/.330/.340
BAL – (Relievers) 3.67 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 0.33 HR/9, 8.3 K/9, .296/.389/.389
Offenses: 2017 Totals
Toronto – R/G 2.87 – .190/.272/.276 – 15 XBH – 8.5 K/G
Baltimore – R/G 4.71 – .250/.300/.428 – 22 XBH – 7.6 K/G
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
F. Liriano LHP (2017: 0-0, 135.00 ERA) vs. K. Gausman RHP (2017: 0-0, 5.40 ERA)
Toronto will look to get themselves back into the division talks on Thursday by sending, Francisco Liriano, to the mound to face the Orioles. Liriano is looking to rebound from the worst start of his career where he went 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 ER against the Rays in Tampa.
Over his career the lefty has a (2-4, 4.34 ERA, 1.522 WHIP, 8.3 K/9) against the Orioles. Including a stellar 6.1 IP, 6H, 0 ER performance last season for Toronto.
Liriano put up a (2-1, 3.07 ERA, 1.091 WHIP, 10.1 K/9) record over five starts last season at the Rogers Centre.
Baltimore will counter with the hard-throwing right-hander, Kevin Gausman, who will be making his second start against the Blue Jays for the young season. Gausman is (0-0, 5.40 ERA, 2.000 WHIP, 7.2 K/9) over two starts in 2017, including a 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER performance on Opening Day vs Toronto.
For his career he is (2-3, 4.29 ERA, 1.450 WHIP, 7.7 K/9) when facing Toronto.
At the Rogers Centre, Gausman, has a (0-3, 5.59 ERA, 1.586 WHIP, 7.8 K/9) record, which includes a (0-2, 7.04 ERA, 1.826 WHIP, 7.6 K/9) record in 2016.
First Pitch – 7:07 EST
A. Sanchez RHP (2017: 0-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. W. Miley LHP (2017: 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The Friday night match-up will feature Aaron Sanchez taking the mound for the Blue Jays. This will be his second start of the season, and his first at home. Sanchez put together an excellent 7.0 IP, 4 H, ER, 6 K performance in Tampa to kick off his season.
Over his career the California native has a (5-2, 3.88 ERA, 1.569 WHIP, 7.1 K/9) when facing Baltimore, including a (4-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.433 WHIP, 8.4 K/9) record last season.
Sanchez like pitching at home as his (10-5, 3.10 ERA, 1.159 WHIP, 7.0 K/9) record at the Rogers Centre reflects. He was a stellar (6-1, 3.74 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 7.6 K/9) at home in 2016.
Facing off against the Blue Jays will be lefty, Wade Miley. Miley will be making his second start of the season, and is coming off a strange start that saw him post 1 H over 5 IP, with 5 K, but with 7 BB.
Over his career against Toronto he has a (1-4, 5.57 ERA, 1.670 WHIP, 9.2 K/9) record, including a (0-2, 3.46 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) record last season.
Miley has had his troubles at the Rogers Centre with a (1-2, 4.56 ERA, 1.563 WHIP, 8.0 K/9) record, which also includes a 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER performance for a loss in 2016.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
M. Estrada RHP (2017: 0-1, 5.73 ERA) vs. A. Asher (2017: 0-0, 0.00 ERA)
The first Saturday afternoon game at the Rogers Centre will see, Marco Estrada, take to the hill for the first time at home this season. Currently sitting with a record of (0-1, 5.73 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) Estrada will be looking for his first win.
Over his career he has a very good ( 4-1, 3.20 ERA, 1.101 WHIP, 8.0 K/9) record versus Baltimore, including the Opening Day start this season of 6 IP, 5 H and 2 ER.
Despite a losing record of (9-12, 3.26 ERA, 1.108 WHIP, 7.3 K/9), Estrada has always pitched well at the Rogers Centre. This can also be seen on his (3-7, 3.57 ERA, 1.211 WHIP, 9.0 K/9) home record in 2016.
Baltimore has called up the newly acquire Alec Asher to make the start for them on Saturday. Asher has one start under his belt at this point in AAA, and will be making his first MLB start of the season.
The Lakeland, Florida native has a career record of (2-7, 5.88 ERA, 1.376 WHIP, 4.6 K/9) thus far, with all of his starts coming as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Asher has not faced the Blue Jays, or any member of the current Toronto roster at this point in his career. Instead of stats, please enjoy this wonderful picture from Getty Images.
First Pitch – 1:07 EST
J. Happ LHP (2017: 0-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. D. Bundy (2017: 1-1, 2.70 ERA)
The series finale will see, J.A. Happ, handed the ball for the second time on the home stand. Happ ran into some trouble in his last start, and will be looking to rebound to improve on his (0-2, 5.40 ERA, 1.200 WHIP, 13.1 K/9) record.
The left-hander has a career record of (4-4, 3.58 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, 9.6 K/9) against the Orioles, including a 7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER performance during the second game of the season in Baltimore.
Happ has an excellent (23-14, 3.29 ERA, 1.174 WHIP, 8.4 K/9) home record, and will be looking to post a better start this time around.
Baltimore will counter with their young hard throwing, Dylan Bundy, to match-up against the Blue Jays. Bundy has gotten off to an excellent (1-1, 2.70 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 7.4 K/9) start to his first fill season as a starting pitcher.
The Oklahoma native has a posted a (2-0, 0.77 ERA, 0.771 WHIP, 9.3 K/9) record in his young career when facing Toronto. This includes a strong 7.0 IP, ER, and 8 K showing already this year.
Bundy’s only appearance at the Rogers Centre was a 2.1 IP, 0 R, 3 K relief stint, for which he picked up a win for this club.
*All Pitcher vs Batter Stats provided by ESPN
**Featured Image Credit: Freaktography – 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.