Series Preview: Orioles carry seven game win streak into series against Toronto

The Orioles have been on fire lately, winning eight of their last ten games and moving up to the forefront of the AL wildcard race. The Birds’ good fortunes started a week ago with an extra-inning walk off against the Oakland A’s. Manny Machado’s game-winning homer in the twelfth inning gave the O’s their first series win since the beginning of the month and started a seven-game win streak.

During that streak, the Orioles swept the Red Sox in Boston and returned home to sweep the Mariners. The O’s’won those seven games by getting great performances from both the offense and pitching staff. The +28 run differential is just one stat that shows how dominant the O’s have been so far in their win streak.

Last Meeting: This will be the fifth series played between the Orioles and Blue Jays in 2017. So far, Baltimore has dominated Toronto, winning every series with an overall record of 9-3. Following this weekend’s series, the teams will meet one last time in mid September.

Standings Update: Riding the wave of their current hot streak, the Orioles have moved to within 1.5 games of the second wild card spot. The Blue Jays, on the other hand, continue to make their way through a disappointing 2017 campaign. With a record of 61-72, Toronto is in the basement of the AL East but that will not stop them from trying to spoil a division opponent’s chances at the postseason.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, August 31, 7:05 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (8-7, 4.88 ERA) vs Marco Estrada (6-8, 5.04 ERA)

Game 2: Friday, September 1, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.98 ERA) vs Joe Biagini (3-9, 5.40 ERA)

Game 3: Saturday, September 2, 7:05 pm – Wade Miley (8-10, 4.99 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (11-6, 3.11 ERA)

Game 4: Sunday, September 3, 1:35 pm – Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.91 ERA) vs Brett Anderson (2-3, 6.83 ERA)

Notes on the Blue Jays:

  • Joe Biagini will receive,the start for the Blue Jays on Friday. The 27-year-old-pitcher has started 12 games for Toronto this year, but made a move to the bullpen after a bad start at the beginning of July. He made his return to the rotation on Sunday, but it was not a good outing. Biagini gave up five runs in just 3.2 innings of work.
  • Marco Estrada’s 2017 numbers are far from flashy, but he has always fared well against the O’s. In eleven career starts against Baltimore, Estrada is 5-1 with a 2.66 ERA. He will be tasked with putting a stop to the Orioles’ hot bats when the series kicks off on Thursday.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • On Tuesday, Dylan Bundy delivered the best start by an Orioles pitcher in recent history. The young starter struck out 12 and gave up just one hit in a complete game shutout. Bundy has now pitched through the sixth inning in six of his last seven starts while lowering his ERA to 3.94.
  • Welington Castillo had a very good offensive series against the Mariners this week. The O’s catcher went 8/11 at the plate with two home runs and six RBI while moving his batting average back up to .300 on the year. Defensive stats still suggest that Caleb Joseph is more essential to the success of the pitching staff, but Castillo’s bat could be too hot to replace right now. It will be interesting to see how much playing time he gets in this upcoming four-game series.

Up Next: The Orioles finish their home stand next week with a series against the New York Yankees. Just like many of their recent matchups ,the O’s will take on another Wildcard team when the face New York. This series will be one of many high intensity matchups down the stretch as the final month of the season begins.

Image Credit: The Canadian Press

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