O's game blog: The Toronto series begins at the Yard

The Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays open a huge three-day, four-game series this afternoon with a straight doubleheader at Camden Yards. Toronto (73-59) is in third-place in the American League East, six games out, and holds the third American League wild card by 2 1/2 games over the Orioles (71-62).

Toronto comes to town off a three-game sweep at Pittsburgh, where they won those games by a combined 12-4 score. Toronto has won five of six, 12 of 17 and 28 of its past 45 games.

The Blue Jays are 35-30 on the road, 27-24 versus AL East teams, 16-14 since Aug. 1 and 23-16 since the All-Star break.

The Orioles went 5-14 last year against Toronto, losing five series and tying one. This year they are 6-3 against the Blue Jays, winning two series and tying one. Baltimore pitching gave up 44 homers and had an 8.49 ERA and 1.750 WHIP over the 19 games of the 2021 season series, but the O’s staff has allowed 12 homers with a 5.01 ERA and 1.430 WHIP this season against the Blue Jays.

As a team last year, Toronto batters hit .313/.383/.582/.965 versus the O’s and averaged 8.05 runs per game. This season they are batting .294/.336/.459/.796 and have given up an average of 5.00 runs per game in the season series.

The Orioles are 4-1 their last five games, 7-3 in the last 10 and 12-6 the last 18 games. They are 47-27 since June 11 after winning two of three in the Oakland series.

In games versus the AL East, the Orioles are 27-29 for the year, including a mark of 17-11 at home. The Birds have won four of six division games, and over longer stretches are 8-5 and 15-11 the last 26 AL East games.

Orioles right-hander Mike Baumann (1-2, 4.50 ERA) gets the Game 1 start, making his first big league start after 11 relief appearances the last two seasons. Baumann has not faced Toronto this season, but gave up six runs in three innings on Sept. 12, 2021 against them.

In his last outing, last Wednesday for Triple-A Norfolk, Baumann pitched a season-high six innings, allowing one unearned run on four hits while striking out a career-high 13 batters against Lehigh Valley. In his most recent major league game, he threw a scoreless inning in relief on June 19 versus Tampa Bay and allowed two hits with one strikeout. Baumann is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA (14 ER/11.2 IP) in six career appearances against the AL East.

In the second game, O’s right-hander Jordan Lyles (10-9, 4.25 ERA) gets the start for Baltimore, although manager Brandon Hyde said earlier Lyles was a bit under the weather today.

The Orioles are 14-13 in his 27 starts. Lyles has put together back-to-back very strong starts against the White Sox and Guardians. In those games, he has allowed one earned run and 13 hits in 13 2/3 innings.

In 12 starts since July 1, he has an ERA of 3.38. And in 12 home games, he is 4-2 with a 2.94 ERA, allowing just four homers in 70 1/3 innings.  

O's starting pitchers have a 2.51 ERA (30 ER/107.2 IP) in 18 games since Aug. 16, the third-best starter ERA in the AL and the fourth-best in majors during that time. The rotation has pitched to a 2.27 ERA (20 ER/79.1 IP) in 13 games since Aug. 21, the fourth-best starter ERA in the AL and fifth-best in the big leagues over that span.

Former Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (10-9, 3.14 ERA) will make his 26th start for Toronto in the opener. The O's 2012 top draft pick, Gausman has a 4.37 ERA over his past four games. On June 16, he gave up seven runs (five earned) in 2 1/3 innings against the Orioles. He got knocked out of that game during a six-run Baltimore third inning at Rogers Centre when he gave up a two-run single to Ryan Mountcastle and RBI doubles to Tyler Nevin and Ryan McKenna.

Toronto's Game 2 starter is righty José Berríos (9-5, 5.32 ERA). The Blue Jays are 9-2 his last 11 starts and 19-7 in his outings this year, despite his high ERA. But in five August starts, Berríos has a 6.92 ERA and a .912 OPS against. 

Note to readers: There will be one game blog for both games today, and this is it. Stay here for comments during both games, and thanks.


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