Series Preview: O's @ Blue Jays, 21-23 June

Tom Szczerbowski

After taking two in Detroit, the O's cross the border for a three-game set against the Blue Jays. Hammel, Gonzalez, and Garcia for the O's. Dickey, Wang, and Johnson for the Jays.

The O's got a great start to the road swing, taking 2 of 3 from the Tigers. Now they're off to Canada for a stiff test against rapidly resurgent Jays. Hammel is slated to start tonight after being skipped a few days earlier. The O's will also pitch Gonzalez and Garcia. Jays intend to counter with Dickey, Wang, and Johnson. No, I didn't make that up. None of the three have been entirely solid this year, however, so we'll see if the O's can calm this recent outburst from Toronto.

Friday, 21 June: Jason Hammel vs. R.A. Dickey
Career Numbers Hammel vs. Jays Dickey vs. O's
IP 49.2 46.0
ERA 3.81 4.11
FIP 4.84 3.50
Slash Line (Past Teams) .257/.327/.464 .238/.296/.349
Slash Line (Current Players) .319/.459/.778 .235/.319/.370

This is one example of a record looking much better than the numbers behind it. Hammel is 4-1 lifetime against the Jays, but he doesn't really have great numbers against their lineup. He's also struggled mightily at Rogers Center. He's pitched just 17 of his 49.2 innings there, but he's racked up a 5.71 ERA and allowed 6 home runs (9 homers allowed overall against the Blue Jays). His numbers against the current lineup are even worse: 3 of the 4 players with more than 10 PAs have an OPS greater than .800. But hey...he's shut down Jose Bautista! Likewise, R.A. Dickey has also been pretty awful at Rogers Center. He's pitched to the tune of a 5.92 ERA and a .275/.344/.518 line inside the dome. He's also had some decent success against the O's in the past. This year, however, the O's have face him several times and had a pretty good time of it. Chris Davis will be searching for his first homer off of the knuckler and the way he's playing right now, that's not a bad bet.

Maybe hot: Nick Markakis (.929 OPS, 10 PA), Nate McLouth (1.029 OPS, 10 PA)

Likely not: J.J. Hardy (.583 OPS, 12 PA), Adam Jones (.538 OPS, 3Ks, 13 PA)

Watch out: Melky Cabrera (1.390 OPS, 2 HR, 15 PA), Edwin Encarnacion (1.000 OPS, 11 PA)

Saturday, 22 June: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Chien-Ming Wang
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Jays Wang vs. O's
IP 28.1 56.1
ERA 3.81 5.91
FIP 3.77 4.60
Slash Line (Past Teams) .236/.281/.415 .335/.379/.461
Slash Line (Current Players) .246/.319/.477 .355/.447/1.093

I supposed the Blue Jays lineup has changed somewhat since last year, since the current lineup hits Gonzalez better than his historic line shows. He's had three starts in Canada and has allowed 7 earned runs in 15 innings. Oddly enough, he's held Edwin Encarnacion to a sub-.200 BA, but his OPS is over 1.000 thanks to two home runs. Meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang has a number of innings against the O's with his time on the Yankees. These haven not been very successful innings, as the O's have posted a nice solid line and knocked him around to a 5.91 ERA. Fun fact: in 56+ innings against the O's, Wang has just 17 strikeouts. Only Nick Markakis has more than 10 PA from the O's current lineup and he's been good. Very, very good.

Maybe hot: Nick Markakis (8-19, 1 HR, 2 BB, 1.237 OPS)

Watch out: Edwin Encarnacion (1.035 OPS, 13 PA)

Sunday, 23 June: Freddy Garcia vs. Josh Johnson
Career Numbers Garcia vs. Jays
Johnson vs. O's
IP 109.2 -
ERA 5.74 -
FIP 5.35 -
Slash Line (Past Teams) .298/.367/.514 -
Slash Line (Current Players) .283/.372/.545 -

Freddy Garcia has amassed 109.2 scary innings against the Blue Jays in his career. His ERA at the Rogers Center is over 6 and he's allowed 12 home runs in under 60 innings there. The remaining 50 innings at other ballparks have not been much better. As a former NL/perennial DL guy, Josh Johnson will make his first career start against the Orioles. He does have six starts at Rogers Center and they've been okay (3.40 ERA, .724 OPS).

Maybe hot: Chris Dickerson (4-7, 1.143 OPS) **Disclaimer: very small sample size here, but not much to work with as Johnson hasn't faced the O's before

Likely not: Nate McLouth (.322 OPS, 13 PA)

Watch out: Jose Bautista (1.540 OPS, 18 PA), Adam Lind (1.965 OPS, 13 PA)

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