Opposite dugout: High-scoring Blue Jays look to keep O's from AL's best record

blue-jays-logo.jpgManager: John Gibbons, second year Record: 81-78 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: RF Jose Bautista (.290/.409/.534, 27 doubles, 35 HR, 103 RBIs, 101 R); 1B Edwin Encarnacion (.269/.357/.555, 27 doubles, 34 HR, 98 RBIs); RHP R.A. Dickey (14-12, 3.78 ERA, 1.24 WHIP); LHP J.A. Happ (10-11, 4.27 ERA, 1.35 WHIP) Season series vs. O's: 6-10, 62 runs scored, 69 runs allowed Pitching probables Sept. 26: Drew Hutchison vs. Chris Tillman, 7 p.m., MASN2 HD Sept. 27: J.A. Happ vs. Wei-Yin Chen, 4 p.m., MASN2 HD Sept. 28: R.A. Dickey vs. TBA, 1 p.m., MASN2 HD Series breakdown Although the Blue Jays aren't going to be playing in October, they've had a fine season. They've already secured at least a .500 record for the first time since 2011 and can finish with their first winning season since 2010 with one win over the Orioles. Toronto can also finish no lower than third in the American League East, and therefore will end with its highest placing since at least 2007. And now, the Blue Jays are the last team the Orioles will have to go through in order to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Baltimore enters its final series of the regular season needing to sweep three games from Toronto and hope the Mariners do the same to the Angels to claim the top record in all of baseball. If either the Orioles win or Angels lose a game over the weekend, the Angels clinch the AL's best record. If the Orioles win three and the Angels lose three, they'll both finish with 98 wins and the O's will claim the AL's top spot by virtue of their 4-2 record against the AL West champs this season. The Blue Jays go into the series playing fairly well. They lost 7-5 to Seattle on Thursday, but had won the previous three games by a combined score of 25-6. Above anything Toronto does well, it score runs. The Blue Jays are tied for third in the AL with 715 runs, rank second with 177 homers and a .738 OPS, and stand fourth with a .259 average. Right fielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Edwin Encarnacion help make Toronto as dangerous as any offense in the majors. Bautista is tied for third in the AL with 35 homers, ranks third with 101 runs and a .943 OPS, and stands seventh with 103 RBIs. Encarnacion is fifth in the AL with a .911 OPS, seventh with 34 homers and tied for ninth with 98 RBIs. That hard-hitting duo makes the Blue Jays the only team in baseball with two 30-homer hitters this year. Five other Toronto batters have at least 12 homers, a group led by Colby Rasmus (18 homers, 40 RBIs). On the mound, the Blue Jays rank 11th with a 4.05 team ERA and a 3.99 starters' ERA, and 12th with a 4.17 bullpen ERA. Right-hander Drew Hutchison (10-13, 4.51 ERA) starts against Chris Tillman in tonight's series opener. Hutchison has allowed eight runs in 10 1/3 innings (6.97 ERA) in suffering two straight losses since a streak of four quality starts in a row. Left-hander J.A. Happ (10-11, 4.27 ERA) faces Wei-Yin Chen on Saturday. Happ has two strong seven-inning starts in his last three outings. He allowed one run in seven innings on Sept. 12 before permitting four earned runs in six innings on Sept. 17. Happ surrendered two runs in seven innings his last time out. Right-hander R.A. Dickey (14-12, 3.78 ERA) is pitching the season finale against a starter to be named. The 39-year-old knuckleballer has allowed more than two earned runs just once in his last six starts. During that time, Dickey is 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA. The Orioles still have important games ahead and with Toronto out of the playoff picture, knocking the Birds out of the race for the AL's best record could bring satisfaction. So stay tuned.

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