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Orioles-Blue Jays series preview: The other guys of the AL East

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Two similar teams that happen to be bringing up the rear in the AL East face off for a three-game series starting tonight at Camden Yards.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

You have to go all the way back to the second series of the season to find the last time the Orioles played the Blue Jays. The O’s won the first two games in Toronto by scores of 6-5 and 2-1, but lost the third by a score of 3-5.

More than two months into the season, the 23-42 Blue Jays stand a couple games better than the cellar-dwelling Orioles. Toronto is 2-8 in their last game 10 games, while Baltimore is 3-7. The O’s run differential (-124) is even worse than that of the Jays (-82). These two teams seem very evenly matched on paper.

The Orioles come back home after a six game road trip, but they actually have a lower winning percentage at Camden Yards (.258) than they do on the road (.353). This year, the Birds’ pitching staff has given up 17 more home runs at home than on the road, 72-55. And that’s in 12 fewer innings (282.0-294.0).

Game 1: Tuesday, 7:05 PM

RHP Trent Thornton (1-4, 4.73 ERA) vs. LHP John Means (5-4, 2.67 ERA)

The Blue Jays will open up the series with a 25-year-old rookie on the mound, Trent Thornton. This will be his first time facing the Orioles. So far in his short career, Thornton has pitched better on the road (3.21 ERA) than at home (6.39 ERA). As far as stuff, his four seam fastball averages 93.3 mph and he boasts an average spin rate of 2.392 on that pitch too, which is well over the league average of 2,285.

Of all the AL rookie pitchers with at least seven starts, Means has the best ERA and is tied with the RangersAdrian Sampson for the most wins. The young left-hander has showed consistency as much as anything so far in 2019. He put up a 2.81 ERA in April/March, 2.79 ERA in May and he has a 1.50 ERA after one start this month. In 29.1 innings pitched at Camden Yards, Means is 3-1 with a 1.53 ERA, 0.82 WHIP and 4.33 SO/W. Having never pitched against the Jays before, Means will be in the same situation as Thornton.

Game 2: Wednesday, 7:05 PM

RHP Edwin Jackson (0-4, 11.90 ERA) vs. RHP David Hess (1-8, 7.08 ERA)

Toronto will call upon the well-traveled Jackson for the middle game of this series. But his brief time as a Blue Jay has not gone well. He’s allowed 32 runs (26 earned) in 19.2 innings with a 2.24 WHIP, 3.7 BB/9 and 6.9 SO/9. In 11 career games (nine starts) against the Orioles, Jackson is 6-1 with a 3.06 ERA. In six career games (five starts) at Camden Yards, he’s 3-1 with a 4.55 ERA.

In his last five starts, Hess is 0-4 with a 9.11 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and 30 runs allowed (27 earned) in 26.2 innings. He’s also given up 10 home runs in that time span. But maybe the right-hander can recapture some of his early season magic in this matchup. Toronto was the opponent when Brandon Hyde removed Hess in the seventh inning of a no-hitter. Hess’ final pitching line that night was 6.1 innings, no hits, no runs, one walk and eight strikeouts.

Game 3: Thursday, 7:05 PM

RHP Marcus Stroman (3-8, 3.31 ERA) vs. TBD

Stroman, the subject of recent trade rumors, takes the bump in the series finale for the Jays. He’s got a 3.52 ERA in 12 career games (11 starts) against the Orioles. In five career starts at Camden Yards, he’s got a 5.47 ERA and 1.40 WHIP.

As of writing this article, the Orioles had yet to decide on a starting pitcher for this game.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Three (do the sweeping)
    (14 votes)
  • 48%
    Two
    (73 votes)
  • 34%
    One
    (52 votes)
  • 7%
    None (get swept)
    (11 votes)
150 votes total Vote Now

All statistics provided by ESPN, Baseball Reference and MLB.