Game 94: Blue Jays (44-47) @ Orioles (51-42), 7:05

Jim McIsaac

Toronto comes into town for a three-game series that will take the Orioles to the All-Star Break. They've won two in a row. Can they make it three against Mark Buehrle?

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Just like that, the Orioles bring a two-game winning streak into their next series, with hopes of adding another win behind the efforts of Chris Tillman, who leads the team in wins. Not that Tillman's ten wins tells us a lot about how he's pitched, but he does have ten wins, and the Orioles as a whole have 51 wins. Has he gotten some help from hitters? Certainly, but he has held up his end of the bargain, more or less.

Tillman does not pitch as well at home, with a 4.34 ERA as opposed to a 3.40 on the road. That probably has something to do with 14 of his 18 home runs being allowed at Camden Yards. That hurts. This year, right-handed hitters also hurt, which is the reverse of what you'd expect.

One good sign is that Tillman had a good June, with a 2.68 ERA in 37 innings. A not-so-good sign is that he was not good in his one July start so far. So, really, who knows.

The Orioles lineup that will face Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle features none other than Brian Roberts leading off. It'll be just like old times! Except hopefully the Orioles will be winning. That would be a big difference from the old days for Roberts. It would be nice to see the team actually have a solid stretch of games while Roberts is active, because his time last year was not the best part of the year for the O's.

As luck would have it, Roberts is the Orioles hitter who's seen the most of Buehrle, and he has 13 hits, including two doubles and a home run, in 46 at-bats. Nick Markakis has a 13-31 with three doubles and two home runs. It is hard to believe there could be a pitcher that Markakis has homered twice against, but Buehrle is such a pitcher. In much more limited action, nine at-bats apiece, Nolan Reimold has two doubles and a home run, and Chris Davis has homered as well.

There is some reason to be encouraged even though the soft-tossing lefty angle is at play.

Rain has been in the Baltimore area on Friday, but the radar, to these amateur eyes, looks like it should be clear by game time with no interruptions to the game. At least if it gets a little wet, people can cover up their heads with the 1983 World Series floppy hat giveaway.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Brian Roberts - 2B Jose Reyes - SS
Manny Machado - 3B Jose Bautista - RF
Nick Markakis - RF Edwin Encarnacion - 1B
Adam Jones - CF Adam Lind - DH
Chris Davis - 1B Colby Rasmus - CF
Matt Wieters - C Rajai Davis - LF
J.J. Hardy - SS J.P. Arencibia - C
Nate McLouth - LF Mark DeRosa - 3B
Nolan Reimold - DH Munenori Kawasaki - 2B

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