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Orioles-Blue Jays series preview: Fourth and fifth place Birds battle in Baltimore

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There are meaningful games being played in the majors this week. These three games in Baltimore will not be among them.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Cleveland Indians David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays come to Camden Yards tonight to begin a three-game series. The Orioles have a chance to win a game or two in this series since it isn’t being played in the Rogers Centre, where they incredibly went winless this season. Amazingly, the Blue Jays have visited Camden Yards only once this season. After this week, they’ll pay one more visit in September. Back in April, Toronto took two of three games in their only visit to Baltimore. Overall, the Orioles are 1-12 against Toronto on the season. The law of averages says that the O’s will win the series, right?

The Orioles come into this series reeling. The Yankees completed a four-game sweep of them last night in front of a national television audience. They’ve been swept in two straight series and have one win in their last ten games. This has left their record at 37-94, good for a .282 winning percentage. They have the worst record in the majors by three games thanks to this recent skid. It is soon safe to pre-order that Bobby Witt Jr. jersey.

Toronto comes into the series with a record of 60-70 and are directly above the O’s in the standings. They are 5-5 in their last ten games and just came off a series in which they took two of three games from Philadelphia. Toronto’s season hasn’t gone as they planned and they are giving younger players a look. Two of their starters in this series made their major league debuts this season and the third debuted last season.

Game 1: Monday, 7:05

David Hess (2-6, 5.50) vs. Sam Gaviglio (3-6, 4.94)

David Hess is coming off a brilliant performance against Toronto last week, when he pitched seven innings of one-run ball. He allowed three hits and struck out seven. Unfortunately for him, he took the loss. It was Hess’ second start against Toronto this season and his second good one. In thirteen innings against the Blue Jays, he has allowed two runs. In looking to continue that success, he’ll need to be careful of Kendrys Morales. Morales has gone 4-6 with a homer against Hess this season.

Gaviglio’s last start came in the Rogers Centre against these O’s. He dominated in that outing to the tune of seven innings, two runs, and seven punchouts. The Orioles had a little more success against Gaviglio on July 20, when they scored four runs off of him in 7.2 innings. Gaviglio seems to have tired as the year has gone on. His ERA was 3.97 through June and elevated over five before last week’s game against Baltimore. No Oriole has dominated Gaviglio, but Jonathan Villar is the only batter who doesn’t have a base hit off of him. He has allowed home runs to Cedric Mullins, Tim Beckham, and Chris Davis.

Game 2: Tuesday, 7:05

TBD vs. Thomas Pannone (1-0, 1.59)

Buck Showalter hasn’t yet named tomorrow’s starter. It could have been Yefry Ramirez’s turn in the rotation, but he appeared in relief last night against New York.

Pannone made his first career start against the O’s and is the reason David Hess’ gem wasn’t rewarded with a win; Pannone was even better. He pitched seven scoreless innings. Pannone made his major league debut on August 10 and appeared as a reliever in four games before making the last start. Trey Mancini is the only Oriole who has a hit off of him.

Game 3: Wednesday, 7:05

Alex Cobb (4-15, 5.00) vs. Ryan Borucki (3-3, 4.12)

The record and ERA paint a bad picture, but Alex Cobb is one of the few reasons to get excited about Orioles baseball these days. Cobb is on some kind of roll after his atrocious start to the season. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since July 8 and he’s allowed just seven earned runs in five August starts. Over the last month, his ERA is 1.80 and his WHIP is 0.97. For the season, his ERA at home (4.80) is better than it’s been on the road.

In two starts against Toronto this season, Cobb’s ERA is over ten. His career ERA against the Jays in ten starts is 4.34. Cobb has seen six Toronto hitters ten or more times thanks to his tenure in the AL East. Only Randal Grichuk has more than a .333 average against him (three hits in four at bats), but Kendrys Morales and Curtis Granderson have homered. Justin Smoak is 0-15 against Cobb.

Borucki, like Pannone, is in his first major league season. He made his major league debut in late June and his ERA through seven starts sat at 2.30. He then gave up fourteen runs in his next three starts (including one where he was pulled after two outs with six runs allowed). His last outing was solid: two earned runs over 6.1 innings in a win against Philadelphia. Borucki has only struck out 5.8 batters per nine inning, which could be in the Orioles favor. He has not made a start in his career against Baltimore.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    3 (Orioles will sweep)
    (10 votes)
  • 17%
    2
    (37 votes)
  • 50%
    1
    (104 votes)
  • 27%
    0 (Orioles will get swept)
    (56 votes)
207 votes total Vote Now