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Orioles-Blue Jays series preview: It’s anyone’s guess as to who will pitch

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The O’s kick off the post-trade-deadline portion of their season with four games against the rival Blue Jays.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The trade deadline has come and gone, and the two teams matching up in this series took very different approaches. The Orioles largely stood pat, holding onto all of their players under control beyond 2019. Meanwhile, the Toronto Blue Jays sold several high-profile names, including all-star pitcher Marcus Stroman and the once-promising hurler Aaron Sanchez. Along with them, Toronto shipped out infielder Eric Sogard and two members of their bullpen, Joe Biagini and Daniel Hudson.

There is not as much room between these two teams in the standings as it once seemed. The O’s trail the Blue Jays for fourth place in the AL East by 5.5 games and are coming off a solid 12-12 month of July while the Jays suffered their fourth straight losing month. There may actually be a fight for the division cellar down the stretch here.

Both of these teams are rebuilding in a sense. However, Toronto is much farther along, especially from an offensive standpoint. Their trio of former big leaguer offspring are now all on the 25-man roster. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is already the strongest player in the league at 20 years old. Cavan Biggio has fallen off after a nice start, but his .350 OBP against a .213 batting average is mighty impressive. And Bo Bichette is only three games into his major league career, but he already has six hits, including a double and a home run.

Game 1: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN

Trent Thornton (3-7, 5.45 ERA) vs. TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Thornton will return from the IL for this start. The 25-year-old last pitched on July 20, but struggled. Over three innings, the righty served up four runs on three hits, a walk, a home run and three strikeouts. July was a tough month for him. In four starts, he gave up 16 runs in just 13 innings of work.

If the O’s are following a normal rotation, this will be Asher Wojciechowski’s turn. The 30-year-old righty is coming off two straight seven-inning outings. Over his last 14.1 frames, Woj has allowed two runs on four hits and 16 strikeouts. Even if his level of performance fell a notch, Brandon Hyde would be very happy with the production.

Game 2: Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN

TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

All mentions of starting pitchers from this point on are pure speculation. Neither team’s website has anything posted, and I can’t track down anything firm from either club’s band of beat writers.

It would make sense for Aaron Brooks (2-4, 5.46 ERA) to take the mound for the O’s in game two of the series. He last pitched on July 27 against the Angels. He took a no decision over five innings, giving up five runs on seven hits, a walk and six strikeouts. But the Orioles did ultimately win that game.

As of this writing, the Blue Jays only have 10 pitchers on their active roster. And few of them have any experience starting a major league game. That could lead to a guy like Sam Gaviglio (4-1, 4.80 ERA) getting the ball to serve in an opener role. Prior to 2019, the righty was almost exclusively a starting pitcher. He has settled into a relief role this year. But he hasn’t pitched since July 27, and the Jays may need to him to reprise his role in the rotation.

Game 3: Saturday, 7:05 p.m. ET, MASN

TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Does anyone else just sort of forget about Dylan Bundy (5-11, 5.24 ERA) sometimes? It feels like the 26-year-old is just an odd fit on this Orioles team. Sure, he has struggled and the O’s are bad, so that makes sense. But he’s also a recognizable name on a team with almost zero star power. Maybe I’m alone on this thought. Anyway, he would be in line to start this game. His last outing came on July 28 against the Angels. He took a no decision while serving up four earned runs over five innings.

At this point, it’s a fool’s errand to guess at who Toronto will be sending to the mound. Their roster is likely to undergo a good amount of overhaul as they call up pitchers to fill gaps until the rosters expand in September. This is a way of life for teams near the bottom of the league standings.

Game 4: Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET, MASN

TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. TBD (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

David Hess (1-10, 7.31 ERA) remained on the big league roster following his latest poor outing. There is no guarantee he starts in this one. If Hyde needs him out of the bullpen earlier in the series, then he will use him. The start in the finale could just as easily go to Jimmy Yacabonis (1-2, 6.57 ERA) or Gabriel Ynoa (1-6, 5.58 ERA) in an opener role. Also, the off day on Wednesday would allow Tom Eshelman (0-2, 6.35 ERA) to pitch on normal rest.

Poll

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

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    0 (The O’s get swept by the Jays)
    (8 votes)
  • 19%
    1
    (35 votes)
  • 50%
    2
    (90 votes)
  • 16%
    3
    (30 votes)
  • 7%
    4 (The O’s sweep the Jays)
    (14 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now