The Orioles and Blue Jays appear set to be the two teams from the American League East that will not make the playoffs. However, the talent discrepancy between the two clubs cannot be overstated.
As an Orioles fan, it’s frustrating that the O’s must play against such quality competition while going through a rebuild. On the other hand, Blue Jays fans are stuck staring down the Yankees, Red Sox and first place Rays while their team is actually trying to compete. That’s life in the AL East, and it does not appear set to change any time soon.
The Blue Jays have returned to Toronto after playing their home games in Buffalo earlier this season. The city provided a unique atmosphere, but I would imagine most players are glad to be north of the border once again.
Toronto boasts a lineup with some of the better young players in the game. Vlad Guerrero Jr. leads the way, but Bo Bichette cannot be overlooked. Cavan Biggio and George Springer are both on the injured list, but Teoscar Hernandez and Marcus Semien provide plenty of firepower.
The Blue Jays need all three of these games if they hope to gain any ground in the AL Wild Card race. The Orioles would simply like to see some continued development from a few young players.
Game 1: Monday, 7:07 p.m.
RHP Chris Ellis (1-0, 3.86 ERA) vs. LHP Robbie Ray (9-5, 2.72 ERA)
The Orioles will turn to Chris Ellis for the second time this season. Ellis lasted just three innings and allowed three runs on five hits against the Angels last week. The Orioles did come back to win that game, but the 28-year-old’s only win actually came against the Orioles during his brief stint with the Rays.
MASN’s Roch Kubatko noted Sunday that Alexander Wells could be available out of the bullpen on Monday. A roster move would need to be made if the Orioles were to summon Wells back from Norfolk.
The Birds will face Robbie Ray in the first of three. Ray holds a 1.024 WHIP and has struck out 192 over 152.1 innings this season. The former Diamondback appears on pace for his best season at age 29.
Game 2: Tuesday, 7:07 p.m.
LHP Keegan Akin (1-8, 7.26 ERA) vs. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (12-7, 3.88 ERA)
Keegan Akin will return to the mound after the best start of his career. Akin limited the Angels to just one run on three hits during his first win of the season last week. The outing marked a seismic shift from what has been a disastrous year for Akin. It remains to be seen whether the 26-year-old can string together a few quality starts to end the season, but he will face a tough test from Toronto on Tuesday.
Ryu has dominated Orioles hitters early on but left the door open late into his starts this season. Ryu pitches to contact, so Baltimore hitters should have an opportunity to put the ball in play.
Game 3: Wednesday, 7:07 p.m.
RHP Matt Harvey (6-14, 6.18 ERA) vs. LHP Steven Matz (10-7, 3.81 ERA)
Matt Harvey turned a corner after a rough first inning during his last start against the Rays. Harvey tossed five scoreless frames after surrendering three runs in the first inning. The former Met holds a 3.53 ERA and 1.062 WHIP during eight second-half starts. He’s provided Baltimore a chance to win almost every time out, and could be pitching his way to a new contract somewhere next season.
Speaking of former Mets, Steven Matz will get the nod in the series finale. Toronto acquired Matz in exchange for three pitching prospects in December. Matz will be an unrestricted free agent after this year.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Blue Jays
This poll is closed
Three (Orioles sweep)
None (Orioles get swept)