There’s a lot of baseball to be played in Baltimore this weekend. The Orioles welcome the Blue Jays to Camden Yards for an extended four-game set that begins tonight and ends on Sunday. That includes two games for the price of one on Saturday in a single-admission doubleheader.
The O’s come into this matchup with a 4-8 record against Toronto this year, having been outscored 50-78 over those 12 games. The Jays are 3-2 at Camden Yards this season.
Led by their infielders, who happen to be the top three hitters in their lineup on most nights, Toronto boasts an impressive offense. They lead the majors in home runs (217), SLG (.459), and OPS (.788).
First baseman and MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is hitting .319/.409/.607 with 42 home runs. Second baseman Marcus Semien has 38 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and a .272/.342/.547 batting line. And last but not least, shortstop Bo Bichette is slashing .289/.339/.458 with 22 home runs and 22 stolen bases.
The Orioles’ rotation is hurting, as evidenced by the lack of confirmed starters for this series. But looking back at the past week provides some clues. Zac Lowther started on Monday, allowing three hits, two walks, and one run in six innings. So he potentially could slide into one of the games on Saturday.
Alexander Wells pitched four innings of two run ball on Tuesday, so he could line up for Sunday’s game. Mike Baumann threw 3.2 innings in his major league debut Tuesday night, so he could either start or get another bulk relief assignment within the next couple of days.
There’s also Keegan Akin, who’s the most rested of the bunch. He last pitched on September 5 against the Yankees, when he gave up four runs in four innings. In his two starts prior to that, Akin had only given up two earned runs over 12 innings pitched.
Series opener: Friday, 7:05 PM
RHP Chris Ellis (1-0, 2.16 ERA) vs. LHP Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.60 ERA)
Claimed off of waivers from the Rays on August 20, Chris Ellis has pitched well in his brief time with Baltimore. In three starts, he’s got a 2.84 ERA. But that’s due for a correction, judging by Ellis’ .143 BABIP. Against the Angels on August 25, the right-hander allowed three runs in three innings. On August 30 against the Blue Jays, he worked 4.2 innings and gave up one run. He best start was his most recent, when he blanked the Yankees for five innings on September 4.
Even though he’s 28 years old, Ellis has very little MLB experience. His debut came with the Royals in 2019, when he pitched a single scoreless inning that year. He pitched just four innings this season before joining the O’s. Funny enough, that one outing came against the Orioles. Ellis pitched four scoreless innings with three hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts in relief with the Rays, good for his first major league win.
Jays starter Robbie Ray is having an incredible 2021. In his first full season playing for Toronto, the left-hander has an ERA below three, a WHIP below one, and is striking out tons of batters. He’s averaging 11.5 K/9 and 5.17 K/BB.
The lefty has made two starts against the O’s this year, giving up a combined four runs in 11.1 innings. On June 18, the O’s got to Ray for two runs over 4.1 innings, with two walks and five strikeouts. On August 20, Ray allowed two runs in seven innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Game 1: Saturday, 4:35 PM
Game 2: Saturday night (Makeup of 7/8 PPD)
Starters for both games of the doubleheader are TBD.
Series finale: Sunday, 1:05 PM
TBD vs. LHP Hyun Jin Ryu (13-8, 3.77 ERA)
Against the O’s this year, Ryu is 3-1 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, and 2.50 K/BB. In those four starts, he’s allowed 18 hits — including one home run — over 24.1 innings. Ryu has pitched twice this year at Camden Yards and won both times. On June 20 he went seven strong, allowing a solo home run to Trey Mancini in the first before tossing six consecutive scoreless innings. On July 7, he allowed five hits, one run, and two walks while striking out seven.
In terms of pitcher-batter matchups, Austin Hays is hitting .364 in 11 at-bats against Ryu. But Cedric Mullins — hitting .188 in 16 at-bats versus Ryu — has yet to solve the left-hander.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Blue Jays?
4 (four-game O’s sweep)
0 (get swept by the Jays)