As the Orioles head home coming off a big series win in Boston, they will be greeted by another big series with the hard-charging Toronto Blue Jays.
The American League East is now a three-team race, with the Orioles (38-27) leading the Red Sox (37-28) by one game and the Jays (38-31) by two games. The Blue Jays match the Orioles in the win column, but are four back in the loss column.
For all the talk about how good Boston’s offense is and how its young players have come on, and they have, the Orioles are 6-4 against the Red Sox this year and 4-2 at Fenway Park. Since Boston took the first two games of that four-game series in Baltimore, the Orioles are 4-1 against the Sox. The Orioles are 2-0-1 in the three series between the teams.
Now can the Orioles beat the Blue Jays?
Last weekend, the Orioles and Blue Jays played three one-run games in a four-game series north of the border. The O’s won the series opener at Rogers Centre, but then lost by scores of 4-3, 11-6 and 10-9. These clubs have played seven games - Toronto leads the season series 4-3 - and six of the seven have been decided by a single run.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies blanked Toronto 7-0 at Rogers Centre. But the Jays won 11-3 the next night and then won 7-2 and 13-2 the last two nights in Philly. So they take the last three games by a combined 31-7 score. Toronto has scored 52 runs the past six games, including the game in which they did not score.
Toronto has won six of its last seven and the Blue Jays are 18-9 their last 27 games. Toronto is 12-2 in its last 14 AL East games. All those numbers should have the Orioles’ attention as they begin a big weekend series at Camden Yards.
Tonight, Mike Wright (3-3, 5.31 ERA) faces right-hander Aaron Sanchez (6-1, 3.38 ERA). Sanchez got the start Sunday when Toronto held off the O’s 10-9. He gave up six runs and four homers over five innings. The O’s hit three homers off him in the fifth inning alone as Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters connected. Sanchez had allowed just four homers in 12 starts and 80 1/3 innings heading into that start on Sunday.
The O’s come home with some momentum after right-hander Tyler Wilson’s brilliant outing last night. He pitched eight scoreless in Boston and saw his defense play great behind him in a 5-1 win.
Coming into last night’s game, the Red Sox were batting .302 with an OPS of .891 and scoring 5.88 runs per game in nine games this year versus the Orioles. That really puts some context to just how well Wilson pitched last night. It was a big lift for a rotation that had an ERA of 7.57 in the first six games of the road trip.
So after losing three of four against Toronto, the O’s won two of three against Boston. Now comes the rematch with the Blue Jays as the scene shifts to Camden Yards.