These two teams were widely selected to be doormats of the American League East entering 2014. If the playoffs began today, both of them would be in while the other three clubs watched from home. So, you may understand that this is a big series.
LHP Mark Buehrle, Toronto
2014 stats: 22 G, 11-7, 3.11 ERA, 142.0 IP, 152 H, 11 HR, 37 BB, 82 SO, .276 BAA, 1.33 WHIP
Last start (@ Boston): 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 SO, W
Career vs. Baltimore: 23 G, 8-9, 3.41 ERA, 142.1 IP, 16 HR, 29 BB, 78 SO, 1.24 WHIP
The Toronto lefty has not been as tremendous lately as he was to start the season. In his last 10 starts his ERA has ballooned from 2.04 up to the current 3.11. The exclamation point on that was his start on July 25 against the Yankees where he only made it through three innings, giving up six earned runs.
Buehrle is allowing more flyballs this year than ever before. At the same time, only 6.4% of those fly balls go out of the ballpark. The Orioles, second in the league in home runs behind the Blue Jays, are a good team to test those numbers.
Tonight's starter last saw the Birds in Baltimore on June 12. That day he went 6.1 innings, allowed 4 earned runs by way of eight hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Over his career, he has been serviceable when facing the Orioles.
RHP Bud Norris, Baltimore
2014 stats: 18 G, 8-7, 3.69 ERA, 109.2 IP, 101 H, 12 HR, 35 BB, 80 SO, .248 BAA, 1.24 WHIP
Last start (vs. Anaheim): 7.0 IP, 0 ER, 8 H, 1 BB, 4 SO, ND
Career vs. Toronto: 4 G, 2-0, 2.66 ERA, 23.2 IP, 2 HR, 7 BB, 18 SO, 1.31 WHIP
Many of the stats that turn up when researching a Bud Norris start can amaze you. Take his numbers against the Blue Jays (listed above). This is a team that seems to always lead the league in home runs and they are doing so again in 2014. You wouldn't know it looking at Norris' lines against them.
Take his last meeting with the Jays. On June 14 he faced them at Camden Yards. All he did was go six and two-thirds innings, allow one earned run and strikeout five. Those types of numbers aren't normal for a pitcher who is widely regarded as average when facing a top offensive club.
Everyone knows by now that Norris is a gamer. This is a big game that will set the tone for the three match set. Bud seems like the perfect choice to take the hill.
Baltimore Orioles (w/ career stats vs. Buehrle)
|RF Nick Markakis (L)||20-for-49, .435 BA, 5 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 4 SO|
|3B Manny Machado (R)||2-for-9, .222 BA, 1 2B, 2 SO|
|CF Adam Jones (R)||10-for-28, .357 BA, 2 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB, 3 SO|
|DH Delmon Young (R)||19-for-48, .396 BA, 2 2B, 4 HR, 2 BB, 4 SO|
|LF Nelson Cruz (R)||1-for-17, .059, 1 BB, 3 SO|
|SS J.J. Hardy (R)||3-for-28, .107 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 SO|
|1B Chris Davis (L)||6-for-19, .316 BA, 2 HR, 1 BB, 4 SO|
|C Caleb Joseph (R)||1-for-2, .500 BA|
|2B Jonathan Schoop (R)||1-for-6, .167 BA, 1 2B, 1 SO|
Buck is mixing things up here. Young, who has been on fire, hits fourth. Davis falls below the fifth spot for the first time all year. Schoop is back in the lineup as it seems like second base has become more of a true platoon with Ryan Flaherty playing against righties and School against lefties.
Toronto Blue Jays (w/ career stats vs. Norris)
|SS Jose Reyes (S)||8-for-23, .348 BA, 1 2B, 1 BB|
|LF Melky Cabrera (S)||4-for-12, .333 BA 1 2B, 2 BB, 2 SO|
|RF Jose Bautista (R)||1-for-8, .125 BA, 1 BB, 3 SO|
|C Dioner Navarro (S)||4-for-11, .364 BA, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 BB|
|1B Juan Francisco (L)||3-for-7, .429 BA, 4 SO|
|3B Brett Lawrie (R)||1-for-8, .125 BA, 2 BB, 2 SO|
|DH Colby Rasmus (L)||5-for-27, .185 BA, 2 2B, 2 HR, 2 BB, 3 SO|
|2B Munenori Kawasaki (L)||2-for-3, .666 BA, 1 2B|
|CF Anthony Gose (L)||2-for-5, .400 BA, 1 3B, 1 SO|
Only one former Oriole in the lineup tonight; just Bautista. Well, that's kind of a bummer. Steve Tolleson is on paternity leave but there were still two more options. Come on Blue Jays. Maybe Nolan is hurt again.
- Former Oriole pitcher Jim Johnson agreed to a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers. He felt that the Orioles bullpen was too crowded for him to get a chance anytime soon in the big leagues.
- Joe Saunders officially signed with the Orioles and has been assigned to Norfolk. Clay Rapada has been released to make room.
- Orioles lead MLB with a 3.12 ERA in night games
- Orioles have the second most wins in night games (47). The Angels lead with 50.
- Tonight's game is the fourth latest game into the season in which the Orioles and Blue Jays meet while both are at the top of the AL East. The latest was September 29, 1989.
- Nick Markakis has 42 multi-hit games. That is tied with Robinson Cano for the second most in all of baseball. Jose Altuve leads with 47.
- Delmon Young is 9-for-17 as a pinch hitter. Jeff Conine was the last Oriole with nine pinch hits in a season.
- Ken Rosenthal, a reporter for MLB Network and FOX Sports who wears different bow ties to raise awareness, will be wearing one this week in honor of former Orioles PR director Monica Barlow who passed away from lung cancer in February. Check out the Orioles-Cardinals game on FOX this week to see the bow-tie.