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Orioles-Blue Jays series preview: More winnable games

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The Orioles pulled off a two-game sweep against the struggling Mets. Now, they’ll have four more games against a below .500 team.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

After picking up a pair of victories in the Big Apple, the Orioles will head north of the border for four games against the Blue Jays. The series provides the Orioles an opportunity to pick up a few more wins against another struggling team.

Baltimore could sweep the series and still not catch Toronto for fourth place in the AL East, but that’s too depressing to focus on. Instead, the Orioles will look to put together a win streak against the birds up north.

Game 1 - Thursday, 7:07

David Hess (2-2, 3.47) vs. Jaime Garcia (2-4, 6.08)

David Hess has received a decision in all four of his starts this year, and the Orioles rookie could easily be 3-1. Hess took a tough loss his last time out against the Nationals when the Orioles failed to provide him any run support. The righty allowed only one run on four hits in six innings. Hess has worked at least six innings in three of his four starts this season.

However, Hess has not struck out more than four batters in any of the four starts, and has allowed at least one home run in three of them. The Blue Jays are currently tied for seventh in the league in homers, and will try to use the long ball against the 24-year-old from Tennessee.

Jaime Garcia won his first two starts of the season, but has been winless since April 17. On May 15, Garcia allowed six runs to the same Mets team that Baltimore held to just one run over 18 innings. Garcia appeared to be on the right track after a seven-inning, one-run performance against Philadelphia, but he could not escape the second inning in his last start against the Tigers. Unlike Hess, the lefty has only completed six innings two times this year. Baltimore’s offense could become acquainted with Toronto’s bullpen rather quickly in this one.

Game 2 - Friday, 7:07

Andrew Cashner ( 2-7, 5.02) vs. J.A. Happ (7-3, 4.08)

How about J.A. Happ already having seven wins on a team well below .500? He’s done so by throwing at least six innings seven times this year. The longer you stay in the game, the better chance you have of coming away with a victory. Happ has struck out 87 batters and walked only 20 in 12 games.

The Orioles will counter with Andrew Cashner. Cashner tossed six frames in his last outing against New York, but did not come away with a victory. The righty has walked at least one batter in every start this year, and his 5.02 ERA sits well above his career average of 3.88. This may be the only matchup where the Blue Jays have a distinct pitching advantage.

Game 3 - Saturday, 1:07

Kevin Gausman (3-5, 4.63) vs. Aaron Sanchez (3-5, 4.48)

Kevin Gausman will take the hill in the Saturday matinee. Gausman has dropped three consecutive decisions, and the righty allowed five or more runs in each of the three losses. However, Gausman pitched well in a no-decision against the White Sox where he did not allow a run and struck out 10 in 6.1 innings. Against Chicago, Gausman lowered his ERA to 3.48, but it’s ballooned by over a full run after his last two outings.

Sanchez broke a five-game streak of pitching five innings or less by throwing six frames in his last start against the Tigers. Still, the Orioles should see more of the Blue Jays’ bullpen that ranks around the middle of the pack in most categories.

Game 4 - Sunday, 1:07

Alex Cobb (2-7, 6.19) vs. Marco Estrada (2-6, 5.29)

It’s nice seeing that the Orioles are not the only team with multiple pitchers that have ERAs over five. While Cobb’s 6.19 ERA is an eyesore, he’s only allowed more than three runs one time since May 1. Cobb picked up his second win of the season with six innings of one-run and one-hit ball in New York the other night. He also struck out a season-high seven batters, which could be a sign that he’s feeling more comfortable on the mound. Cobb should be able to give the Orioles a chance to win this one.

While Cobb has been slowly improving, there are fewer reasons to expect Estrada will straighten things out. The righty has not won a game since April 20, but he did have an impressive performance his last time out against the Yankees. The Orioles will hope his success against AL East teams will be short lived.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Blue Jays?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    4 (Orioles sweep)
    (11 votes)
  • 16%
    3
    (20 votes)
  • 53%
    2
    (65 votes)
  • 12%
    1
    (15 votes)
  • 8%
    0 (Orioles get swept)
    (10 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now