Opposite dugout: Blue Jays trying to remain relevant in AL East race

blue-jays-logo.jpgManager: John Gibbons (11th year)

Record: 6-4

Last 10 games: 6-4

Who to watch: 1B Justin Smoak (.352 with 2 HR, 10 RBIs), LF Curtis Granderson (.364/.417/.545), 2B Yangervis Solarte (.308 with 2 HR), 3B Josh Donaldson (2 HR, 5 RBIs), RHP Marco Estrada (1-0, 2.77 ERA), RHP Roberto Osuna (4 saves, 0.00 ERA)

Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (7-12 in 2017)

Pitching probables:

April 9: LHP J.A. Happ (1-1) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (0-0), 7:05 p.m., MASN2
April 10: RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1), 7:05 p.m., MASN2
April 11: RHP Marco Estrada (0-0) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1), 7:05 p.m., MASN

Inside the Blue Jays:

Last season's 7-12 record against the Orioles marked the first time in three campaigns the Blue Jays hadn't prevailed in the season series between the teams with winged mascots. If Toronto has any designs on challenging for the American League East crown, it's got to make hay against beatable teams, and that means establishing some dominance over the Orioles. If the Blue Jays can take a lion's share of games from the O's and Rays, they might become relevant in the AL East race. But they haven't been to the postseason since back-to-back appearances in 2015 and 2016 - falling in the AL Championship Series both times - and the Blue Jays have finished in every spot in the five-team division at least once in the past six years. They come to Camden Yards after winning two of three at Texas.


Third baseman Josh Donaldson is the guy the Blue Jays offense revolves around, and he's got some stellar career numbers against the Orioles. Lifetime, Donaldson boasts a .271/.379/.504 slash line with 11 homers and 47 RBIS off Baltimore pitching, including a .272.,378/.553 mark with eight homers and 23 RBIs in 29 games at Camden Yards. He's recovering from a 1-for-10 start to the season and is 8-for-28 with two longballs in April. First baseman Justin Smoak's 10 RBIs lead the Blue Jays, while a pair of newcomers, second baseman Yangervis Solarte and left fielder Curtis Granderson, are adding to the attack. Solarte has a pair of homers and is batting .308 while playing all around the diamond, and Granderson is hitting .364 to lead the Blue Jays. Solarte came over in a trade from the Padres and Granderson signed a one-year, $5 million deal as a free agent. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales, who hit his first home run of 2018 on Sunday, loves Orioles pitching, especially at Camden Yards, where he's feasted to a .322/.378/.557 clip with six homers and 24 RBIs in his career.

Lefty J.A. Happ gets the ball for Toronto in Monday's series opener, and he's coming off a nine-strikeout performance in a 14-5 win over the White Sox on April 3. Happ is 4-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 15 games (14 starts) in his career versus the Orioles, and is 1-2 with a 4.05 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards. Right-hander Aaron Sanchez makes his third 2018 start Tuesday night and is still seeking his first victory of the season. He went 0-1 with a 6.35 ERA against the Orioles in a pair of 2017 starts, but is 5-3 with a 4.33 RA in 15 games (10 starts) in his career at Camden Yards. He gives up plenty of longballs to Baltimore hitters - 12 in 62 1/3 innings pitched over his career - but only two have come at Camden Yards. Righty Marco Estrada hopes to extend his mastery of the O's in Wednesday's series finale. He's won his last six decisions over them, including a 3-0 record and 3.23 ERA in five starts against Baltimore in 2017. For his career, Estrada is 7-1 with a 3.22 ERA in 15 games (13 starts) versus the Orioles.

Roberto Osuna is the Blue Jays closer, and he's struggled to nail down games against the O's in his career, blowing three of eight save chances against them and posting a 4.03 ERA. This season, he's been money, with four saves in as many tries and a 0.00 ERA.

Davis out of lineup due to an illness (and other n...
Orioles lineup vs. Yankees
 

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