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Series Preview: O's @ Blue Jays, 23 - 26 May

Time to break out those passports. The O's will make their first trip north of the border to face the Blue Jays. The series will include the first career start of one Kevin Gausman, who will make just his 14th professional appearance. Gausman (!!!), Tillman, Garcia, and Gonzalez (holy G's, Batman!) for the O's. Morrow, Nolin, Dickey, and Ortiz for the Jays.

Good luck, kid.
Good luck, kid.
Rob Carr

After suffering back-to-back sweeps against San Diego and Tampa Bay, the O's got off to a slow start against the Yankees, dropping game 1 of the series on a Jim Johnson blown save. The BS marked his third straight after 35 consecutive converted. They recovered, however, behind solid outings from both Miguel Gonzalez and Jason Hammel, taking the next two games and heading north on a high note. The biggest news for this series is the first start for Kevin Gausman, the Orioles first round pick in last year's draft.

23 May, 7:07pm: Kevin Gausman @ Brandon Morrow
Career Numbers Gausman vs. Jays Morrow vs. O's
IP -
ERA - 4.05
Slash Line (Past Teams) -
Slash Line (Current Players) -

Merry Gausmas! Obviously, this is the most heavily anticipated game of this series, so hopefully Gausman won't disappoint. There were some concerns that his third pitch, a slider, wasn't MLB-ready yet, so that's something to watch. Brandon Morrow is a guy I've always irrationally liked, maybe because he's always been a decent pitcher. He's had a rough go this season, posting his highest FIP since 2009, but so have most Blue Jays. Considering the past teams slash line, his ERA/FIP would seem a little high. Current players have had better success.

Maybe hot: Adam Jones (12-33, 3 HR, 1.166 OPS), J.J. Hardy (.944 OPS, 18 PA)

Maybe not: Matt Wieters (2-24, .569 OPS)

24 May, 7:07pm: Chris Tillman @ Sean Nolin
Career Numbers Tillman vs. Jays Nolin vs. O's
IP 37.0
ERA 3.89 -
FIP 5.84 -
Slash Line (Past Teams) .214/.288/.420
Slash Line (Current Players) .267/.333/.413

Not to be outdone by the O's, the Blue Jays are expected to start their own AA phenom, Sean Nolin, in this game. He's pitched extremely well in his first two starts, winning them both and recording a 1.17/2.29 ERA/FIP. He's a lefty, meaning he'll probably pitch a one-hitter through about 7-8 innings. I'm not sure how hard he throws, but that could be the difference between a 1-hitter and a 4-hitter. Chris Tillman will make his 7th start against the Blue Jays. His FIP is very high, likely due to the fact he allows lots of homers and his K/BB ratio is low. The majority of his starts against the Blue Jays have come at Rogers Center, where he has allowed 7 HRs in 4 games.

Stud: Jose Bautista (1.317 OPS, 15 PA)

Dud: Adam Lind (.544 OPS, 5 K, 17 PA)

25 May, 1:07pm: Freddy Garcia @ R.A. Dickey
Career Numbers Garcia vs. Jays Dickey vs. O's
IP 104.2
ERA 5.86
FIP 11.34
Slash Line (Past Teams) .294/.367/.515
Slash Line (Current Players) .254/.385/.549

I actually feel a bit bad for Garcia on that last start. It looked like he was just tossing meatballs in the first few innings, but he came around and finished strong through 6 innings. He was pulled well below 100 pitches, but given his track record, that was probably a smart play. The O's, however, ended up losing the game. Now Garcia will make his next start against a team that he has not had any type of success against....all of this in a park where he has also had limited success. In his career, he's allowed a .908 OPS at Rogers Center. Side note: small sample size and all, but J.P. Arencibia is 4-5 against Garcia - all extra base hits. The Orioles will face knuckler R.A. Dickey for the second time as a member of the Blue Jays. Very, very small sample, but Dickey has been darn near perfect against current Oriole batters (only Chris Davis has more than 10 PA). Dickey hasn't been all that great so far this year, however, so maybe the O's will figure out the knuckleball (like Manny Machado did, going 2-3 with a double and 2 RBI in his first meeting).

Stud: Choose one - Adam Lind (1.975 OPS, 10 PA) or Jose Bautista (1.600 OPS, 15 PA)

Dud: If you must, it's Melky Cabrera (2-12, .167/.167/.500)

26 May, 1:07pm: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Ramon Ortiz
Career Numbers Gonzalez vs. Jays Ortiz vs. O's
IP 22.2
ERA 4.37
FIP 4.17
Slash Line (Past Teams) .244/.278/.453
Slash Line (Current Players) .255/.305/.491

Miguel Gonzalez returned from the disabled list and showed no ill effects from the blister that sent him there in the first place. He returned to his usual position of "Yankee killer" and got the O's back on track en route to a series win. He has not had the same success against the Blue Jays. Only Edwin Encarnacion has more than 10 PA (2 hits, both homers), but the numbers have been pretty solid. In 22 innings, Gonzalez has allowed 3 homers, although he's walked just 4 (14 Ks). Ramon Ortiz is the scheduled starter in this game for the Blue Jays, but that might change now that they've called up a rookie to start Friday's game. Ortiz has been around the block quite a bit and turns 40 years old today. However, most of that action came a ways back, as he's only faced five of the current Oriole players. Big bats such as Adam Jones and Chris Davis (I was almost going to include Matt Wieters here, but thought better of it) have never faced Ortiz.

Maybe hot: Nate McLouth (.385 OBP, 13 PA)

Maybe not: J.J Hardy (.583 OPS, 12 PA)