As the Blue Jays are nipping at the ankles of the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot, they come to Baltimore for four games against the Orioles.
However, game one of Saturday’s doubleheader is actually the ultimate game of the series that wasn’t finished due to inclement weather back in July.
Winners of four of their last seven games, the Orioles are proving they’re not an easy win for any team in the final stretch. However, this Blue Jays team truly will be the toughest the O’s have faced since the last time these two teams met at the end of August.
This series has an odd complexion for the O’s, where them playing poorly in these four games would actually hurt the Yankees. And who doesn’t want that?
However, this is still baseball, and the point is to try and win. With Chris Ellis on the mound in game one and three “to be determined starters” following, the O’s actually have a decent chance in this first game.
Last time these two teams met, Ellis pitched a great outing, allowing just one run and two hits over 4.2 innings. Again, he will have his hands full with Vlad Jr., Bo Bichette and Marcus Semien.
Just as a speculation, the three games of TBD starters leads me to believe we may see Mike Baumann get a start, especially with the injury to Matt Harvey, which more than likely is ending his time in an O’s uniform. Also, Alexander Wells may see another start, as he looked much improved in his last outing.
Offensively, the team will need to be better than it was against the Royals. If you take away the one nine-run inning, the offense was flat. This won’t be easy, as the Orioles are set to hit against Cy Young candidate Robbie Ray in game one and former Cy Young winner, Hyun-Jin Ryu, in game four.
Austin Hays enters this series on a 15-game hit streak, the longest of his career. Trey Mancini is also back healthy, which fills a huge hole in the O’s lineup.
To have some success in this series, the Orioles must rely on these ❌-Factors!
The first ❌-Factor Ryan Mountcastle. Since the All-Star Break, Mountcastle has done nothing but help his ROTY candidacy. Since the break, he is hitting .281 with a .918 OPS. Last time he saw Robbie Ray, Mountcastle took him deep and singled, good for the only two runs scored against Ray. In this series, expect Mountcastle to do the same and begin this set on a high note. Beyond that, Mountcastle’s K rate has significantly dropped, and he is poised to be a thorn in the side for the Blue Jays here in Baltimore.
The next ❌-Factor is Tyler Wells. Recently, Wells has been pitching in high leverage situations, and he has been incredible. For the rest of the bullpen, the same cannot he said. If the O’s get into the late stages of two of these games with the score close, you can expect to see Wells. With him on the mound, not only do the Orioles have a much better chance, but he also has the opportunity to test his stuff against a premier lineup in the A.L.
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