You want me to truly believe that the Orioles are a different team under Buck Showalter?
Let them beat the Blue Jays.
I’m not pushing for a sweep, though that would be terrific. Just beat this team one time and stop making it look like the ‘27 Yankees. Or the ‘92-‘93 Jays.
I’d feel better about tonight if Brian Matusz wasn’t 0-2 with a 22.85 ERA against Toronto, if he hadn’t allowed six runs in 1 2/3 innings in his last visit to Canada. But Matusz has turned in four straight quality starts, and six in his last seven outings. He’s on a nice little roll here.
So is the rotation, which recorded quality starts in all six games on the road trip. The bullpen couldn’t hold two late leads or we’d be talking about back-to-back sweeps.
I like Matusz tonight over Toronto left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, who’s 1-4 with a 6.47 this season and has surrendered 20 earned runs and 31 hits in his last five games covering 22 innings.
I’m not guaranteeing a win, but I’m leaning heavily in that direction.
The Orioles have seen Rzepczynski once this season. He allowed a hit and struck out one in one-third of an inning on July 17. Surely you remember.
Nolan Reimold is 1-for-3 against him. You have to figure that Reimold will be in the lineup against a lefty, no matter the numbers. Showalter has to evaluate this guy. Put him in left field and take another look.
I was asked by a reader to project next year’s outfield, which is difficult without knowing whether the Orioles will make any moves over the winter. It’s pretty safe to put Nick Markakis in right and Adam Jones in center, but left is another story.
Showalter isn’t ready to hand the job to Pie, and he certainly isn’t on the verge of naming Reimold the full-time starter. Maybe they end up platooning. Maybe Showalter pushes for an upgrade over the winter.
He’s seen a lot more of Pie than he has Reimold. He needs to get caught up over these final three weeks.
Two more Blue Jays notes: Jose Bautista needs one more home run to tie George Bell’s franchise record of 47. If you saw that coming back in spring training, you must also see dead people. And Kyle Drabek is expected to make his major league debut on Wednesday. His father, Doug, pitched for the Orioles in 1998, the former Cy Young winner’s final season in the majors.
Drabek wasn’t one of the Orioles’ better free-agent signings. He went 6-11 with a 7.29 ERA in 23 games.