O’s game blog: Mike Wright faces Toronto in Game 3 of series

TORONTO - When the Orioles face the Toronto Blue Jays this afternoon at Rogers Centre, we will find out if rookie right-hander Mike Wright can build on his best start of the 2016 season.

On Monday at home against Kansas City, Wright gave up one unearned run on five hits over seven innings with two walks and four strikeouts. He threw shutout ball the first six innings of that game. The game followed by just days Wright being optioned to the minors. But he quickly returned to the roster when Darren O’Day went on the disabled list.

“I think the focus he had tonight was big,” catcher Matt Wieters said after that Wright start. “Right from the get-go, you could tell he was focusing all his energy on making every pitch. Which was big for him, to zone in and sort of take each pitch by itself. I know he’ll take the positives from tonight and be able to apply them in other starts.”

Wright-Throws-Gray.jpgWright (3-3, 5.14 ERA) will try today to put together back-to-back quality starts for the first time this season. He was 1-1 with an ERA of 6.57 his previous five starts before he pitched well against K.C.

In four career games versus Toronto, Wright is 0-3 with an ERA of 7.11. In two career starts at Rogers Centre he is 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA. Last June 19 here he gave up four runs in 1 1/3 innings. On Sept. 5 he gave up three runs over four innings.

Left-hander J.A. Happ (6-3, 3.57 ERA) is his mound opponent this afternoon. Happ pitched for the Blue Jays from 2012-14 and re-signed with the club as a free agent in November. He signed a three-year deal for $36 million.

Happ has had a solid season, allowing two earned runs or fewer in seven of his 12 starts. In his most recent game, Monday at Detroit, he gave up six runs and six hits in five innings. Happ had a 2.76 ERA in April, an ERA of 3.32 in May and has an ERA of 10.80 this month from that start in Detroit.

In five home starts, he is 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA. In nine career games (eight starts) against Baltimore he is 2-3 with a 3.56 ERA.

The Orioles are 36-24 after their five-game win streak ended last night. Boston won 8-1 at Minnesota to pull to within a game of the Orioles for first in the American League East. Toronto is in third place, 4 1/2 games out.

The Orioles are 8-2 in June and that is tied with Cleveland for the best record in the major leagues this month. The O’s already have had three winning streaks of five games or more.

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