On one side of the ball today is right-handed Toronto starter Zach Stewart, who will be making his major league debut in this game. The Spawn of Doug Drabek was wild and ineffective, so he's in the minors and Stewart's up in his place. Stewart was a third-round draft pick of Cincinnati in the 2008 draft and came to the Blue Jays in the Scott Rolen trade. He was their best prospect until the Roy Halladay trade stocked the system. Courtesy of John Sickels at Minor League Ball, we can anticipate the 24-year old Stewart will show an 89-93 mph sinking fastball, a slider and a changeup. Stewart's pretty much making the jump straight from AA to the big leagues, having thrown a total of about 25 innings in AAA.
The other team in the contest has lost four straight games and hasn't won a game in Toronto since early August in 2009. Last night the Orioles looked almost totally helpless against Ricky Romero, and it may be that the debut-making Stewart has the early advantage of being unfamiliar. This is a day game after a night game. Also, the Orioles starter is Jeremy Guthrie, who gives up a lot of home runs and gets non-existent run support. Mega-slugger Jose Bautista has thus far been held homerless in the series. That could be a bad combination.
Let's look at some positives. J.J. Hardy is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he's batting .394, and he continues to be slotted leadoff. Luke Scott likes to hit against right-handed pitching. After today, the O's will get to go play the National League. Those are your positives. It's been a tough series for Adam Jones, who's riding an 0-for-Toronto, just like the team. Maybe that means he's due, but maybe it means he's slumping.
Either way, hopefully the team shows up today ready to play. I think we're all tired of the shenanigans.
|Orioles (J. Guthrie - R) @ Blue Jays (Z. Stewart - R)|