After the nailbiter that was against the Yankees on Wednesday evening, the boys are back to Baltimore to face the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays, as you may know, are the team that fell apart in 2013 due to a plethora of injuries. So far this year, they haven't been struck as hard *yet* but the impact names like Jose Reyes and Casey Janssen became early casualties. However, they haven't done bad in the first 10 games with the 5-5 record. The first game of the series will feature the pitching matchup of Chris Tillman versus Dustin McGowan.
RHP Dustin McGowan, Toronto Blue Jays
McGowan was hit pretty hard by the Yankees on his first start - 2.2 IP, 8H, 4ER. To be fair, it was his first start since 2011 and he showed some good stuff in the Spring Training for Blue Jays to ensure faith as one of the rotation starters so let's not write him off yet. If we are to do that, however, it's because of his catastrophic health history. The last time he ate more than 100+ innings (which is 2008, 111.1 IP), Jeremy Guthrie was the #1 starter for the O's. However, he still has the fastball velocity (avg'd 93.1 mph versus the Yanks) and he's actually only 32, which is not young but consider that he debuted in 2005, on his age 23 season. McGowan could either deliver a gem of a start using his stuff or he could get shelled again. The Blue Jays are taking a leap of faith by counting that he'll be a reliable starter (which he hasn't been in 6 years) and they hope that he can deliver something impressive tonight.
RHP Chris Tillman, Baltimore Orioles
You could agree that Tillman has been the saving grace for the rotation so far in 2014 - he earned a win facing the Red Sox on the opening day and almost delivered a complete game against the Tigers. The righty looks to extend his hot stretch versus the Blue Jays and he hasn't been particularly good against them. The current Jays position players have a .291/.331/.511 line against the righty (basically the same OPS as Carlos Quentin's career). Notably, the ever-dangerous Jose Bautista has a 1.103 OPS in 18 at-bats with two home runs - probably not the best news for odds especially given that Joey Bats is off to a 1.119 OPS start with league-leading four home runs. Colby Rasmus, who's off to a cold 3-for-30 start, has made a killing against Tillman with 1.429 OPS against with four extra base hits in 14 at-bats.
As for the lineup, by now you may know who's hot and who's not. You don't? Well, here are the "hot"'s.
After going 1-for-6 on the first two games, Delmon Young went on a tear in the last two games of the Yankees series by going 6-for-11 with a homer and a double. It's an extremely small sample but he did a good amount to help the team to take the series in the Bronx. Chris Davis, who's hit for a .303 average, is "toiling" at .736 OPS - it would be nice to see the extra base hits back as soon as possible.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||TORONTO BLUE JAYS|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Melky Cabrera - LF|
|Delmon Young - DH||Maicer Izturis - 2B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Jose Bautista - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Edwin Encarnacion - DH|
|Matt Wieters - C||Adam Lind - 1B|
|Nelson Cruz - LF||Dioner Navarro - C|
|Steve Lombardozzi - 2B||Colby Rasmus - CF|
|Ryan Flaherty - SS||Brett Lawrie - 3B|
|Jonathan Schoop - 3B||Ryan Goins - SS|
|Chris Tillman - RHP||Dustin McGowan - RHP|