Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles vs. Toronto Blue Jays, 24-26 September 2013

Happier days - David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Their playoff hopes gone, their youngest star on the DL, and their losing streak at five games, will the O's manage to win a couple of their final six contests?

Well, it was still a little bit fun, until yesterday. A fifth consecutive loss all but mathematically eliminated the Orioles from the playoffs, but more importantly, they lost Manny Machado for the foreseeable future. There may well be more news on that front by the time this publishes, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with him.

Here are your matchups for this now very inconsequential meeting with the Blue Jays:

Tuesday, 24 September: Chris Tillman vs. Todd Redmond
Career Numbers Tillman vs. Blue Jays Redmond vs. O's
IP 56.0 10.1
ERA 4.18 3.48
FIP 5.63 3.97
Slash Line (Past Teams) .252/.308/.490 .184/.244/.395
Slash Line (Current Players) .260/.305/.390 .189/.268/.405

Tillman's career numbers against Toronto aren't great, but this year he has a 3.86 ERA against them (and a less-flattering, but better than what's above, 4.85 FIP). His last outing versus the Jays was just ten days before this one, and he took the loss despite pitching a solid enough four-run, eight-inning complete game. To win, he'll probably have to pitch at least that well again, considering the extended funk the offense was in until yesterday.

Redmond shut down the O's on 13 September, going 6.1 innings and allowing just one run, with seven strikeouts and no walks. Over the year, he hasn't usually gotten deep into games, but he's also rarely let the game get out of his teammates' reach. Hopefully, since he isn't a lefty, last time was a fluke, and the O's will be able to take advantage of his flyball tendencies (just 31.1% groundballs) in Camden Yards.

Maybe hot: Brett Lawrie (.900 OPS, 10 PA)

Likely not: Adam Lind (.558 OPS, 26 PA)

Wednesday, 25 September: Bud Norris vs. Esmil Rogers
Career Numbers Norris vs. Blue Jays Rogers vs. O's
IP - 16.2
ERA - 2.70
FIP - 2.56
Slash Line (Past Teams) - .219/.265/.344
Slash Line (Current Players) .263/.349/.368 .297/.338/.438

Norris has never faced the Blue Jays, and continues to underperform his peripherals, mostly thanks to a high BABIP (.369). I didn't like the trade the Orioles made to acquire him, and he hasn't impressed this year, but at least there's a silver lining to the situation. Norris last appeared in the O's ridiculous 18-inning game on Friday; hopefully that won't have thrown him off of his game for this start.

Rogers last opposed the O's on the 14th, putting up a bare-minimum quality start in a game the Jays eventually won. His other appearances against Baltimore have all been in relief, and he's acquitted himself quite well in those. Rogers has had some struggles as a starter, but he hasn't been significantly better as a reliever, which is probably why he's still in Toronto's rotation.

Thursday, 26 September: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Mark Buehrle
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Blue Jays Buehrle vs. O's
IP 41.0 125.2
ERA 3.51 3.29
FIP 4.05 4.11
Slash Line (Past Teams) .224/.270/.395 .260/.301/.409
Slash Line (Current Players) .292/.333/.444 .291/.332/.439

Gonzalez pitched well against the Jays back on the 15th, going just 5.1 innings thanks to a groin strain but allowing just one run. Buehrle actually started for Toronto in that game as well, so this is something of a rematch, and looking at the numbers, it's a pretty good matchup. Gonzalez struggled with his control against Tampa Bay on Saturday, walking five, but still managed a quality start.

Buehrle's just been doing this thing in Toronto, putting up 200+ innings of average or slightly better pitching. He's thrown 200 or more innings every year since 2001, and in only one of those years has he been worse than league-average according to ERA or FIP. I wonder what it's like to have one of those guys on your staff...

Maybe hot: Nick Markakis (1.194 OPS, 40 PA), Adam Lind (1.243 OPS, 18 PA)

Likely not: Michael Morse (.235 OPS, 17 PA), Brett Lawrie (.297 OPS, 14 PA)

There is no such thing as a "winning" player or a "losing" player. - Earl Weaver

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