TORONTO — Coming into September, the Orioles stood three games over .500 and came close to snagging an American League Wild Card spot. Since the month started, however, the Baltimore Orioles played to a 3-7 record. Yes, the O’s did run into the Cleveland Indians at a bad time. The Tribe, in the midst of an 18-game winning streak, now represents the #1 seed in the AL. However, some of the losses in September came against the Blue Jays, who sit in the cellar of the AL East. The Orioles can avenge that split at Camden Yards if they win this series up north in Toronto.
Over the weekend, the Blue Jays took two of three from the Detroit Tigers at the Rogers Centre.
Standings Update: In the AL East, the Red Sox (81-62) lead the division and render the #3 seed in the AL (Houston is #2). The Yankees (77-65) come in second and still hold the first Wild Card spot in the AL. The Orioles (71-72), now a game below .500, stand in third place with the Rays (71-73) close behind them. The Blue Jays (66-77) remain the clear-cut disappointment in the division this season.
Wild Card Race: Along with the Yankees, the Twins (74-69) currently grasp onto a Wild Card slot in the AL. In their 3-7 stretch, the Orioles fell down the Wild Card rankings, now three games back. The Angels (73-70), Royals (71-71) and Rangers (71-71) include the teams now ahead of the O’s in the quest for a Wild Card appearance.
Last Meeting: Just over a week ago at Camden Yards, the Blue Jays and Orioles split a four-game series. Toronto won games one and three, and the Orioles emerged victorious in games two and four. This series occurred right after the Orioles swept the Mariners. Since the start of last weekend’s series against the Blue Jays, the Orioles played to a record of 3-6.
Season Series: The Orioles rule the 2017 season series versus the Blue Jays, 11-5. At the Rogers Centre this season, the Orioles own a 5-2 edge.
Game Times and Pitching Matchups:
Notes on the Orioles:
- Since being activated off the 60-day disabled list over the weekend, shortstop J.J. Hardy has not played. Unless the Orioles blow-out early and need a late-inning infielder, Tim Beckham will receive most of the playing time at shortstop. At this point, he’s so much better than Hardy at the plate. In the field, Hardy makes fewer errors than Beckham, but Beckham’s range visibly looks better than Hardy, now 35.
- The starting rotation continues to struggle. Against the Indians this weekend, the trio of Wade Miley, Gabriel Ynoa, and Jeremy Hellickson combined for 10 earned runs on 17 hits. Meanwhile, the bullpen collectively allowed two earned runs over the weekend. Getting shut out on Friday certainly did not help, but the struggles of the 2017 Orioles continue to point at the starting pitching.
- On June 29, Jimenez tossed eight scoreless innings in Toronto in a 2-0 Orioles win. That’s his best outing so far this season.
Notes on the Blue Jays:
- First-baseman Justin Smoak‘s 37 home runs rank fourth in the MLB and third in the AL. Joey Gallo (Rangers) and J.D. Martinez (Diamondbacks) also possess 37 home runs on the season.
- Closer Roberto Osuna (3.66 ERA) lists second in the AL and fifth in MLB with 35 saves. Alex Colome (Rays) commands both the AL and MLB lead with 56 saves.
- Third baseman Josh Donaldson (illness) missed the last three games. His status for Monday’s game remains unclear.
Up Next: The Orioles head to the Bronx to conclude their 10-game road trip. Thursday through Sunday, the Birds battle the Yankees, just a few days removed from last weekend’s series at Camden Yards. The Yankees won that series, 2-1.
Image Credit: FanRag Sports