The Baltimore Orioles are taking the fight north, as they head to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays in a mid-September matchup.
This three-game series will have major AL Wild Card implications for both teams, with only 20 games left in the season.
The Orioles come into the series 4.5 games behind Tampa Bay for the third AL Wild Card spot and five games behind the Blue Jays. Needless to say, this series could reshape the entire postseason picture.
The last time these two teams squared off, the Blue Jays took three of four from the Orioles at Camden Yards, including a doubleheader sweep. Even with that series win, the Orioles lead the season series 7-6 with six more games, including this series, to play.
The Jays will send out Trevor Richards, José Berríos and Alek Manoah to face the O’s. To counter, the Birds will send out Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer. Lyles, who is starting tonight, is 3-1 with a 6.67 ERA in six appearances, five starts, against the Blue Jays.
One of the most important things the pitching staff will need to do is quiet the bat of Bo Bichette.
Bichette has reached base in 15 games this month and is batting .484 with 17 extra base hits, including seven home runs and 22 RBIs. He is hitting .339 (19-for-56) against the O’s this season, including six home runs and 14 RBIs, and has an OPS of 1.058 against Oriole pitching.
This series is crucial for the Orioles. In order to gain ground and turn the series in the their favor, they will need to be able to score early and often.
That is why The Baltimore Battery ❌-FACTOR for the series is the Oriole offense.
The Orioles rank 21st in batting average (.236), 25th in OBP (.306) and 21st in runs scored (593 or 4.1 per game). They will have to have one of their stronger offensive outputs if they not only want to win this series but increase their playoff odds.
Suffice to say, games with four hits or less will not get the job done against a Blue Jays team who is seventh in scoring (670 runs or 4.7 runs per game). The starters in this series are familiar to the O’s hitters, so we’ll see what adjustments will be made.
Joining the Orioles on their trip to Toronto will be right-hander Logan Gillaspie, catcher Cody Roberts and infielder Tyler Nevin. They will be part of the taxi squad for the series.
Also, it was announced earlier this week that Baltimore’s Opening Day third baseman, Kelvin Gutiérrez, has been released of his contract. In 12 games played at the big league level this season, Gutiérrez hit just .143/.250/.179, with four base hits and three RBIs.
In pitching news, Alexander Wells has officially cleared outright waivers and has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Lastly, the O’s have announced that they will be sending these prospects to participate in the Arizona Fall League:
– Heston Kjerstad OF
– Reed Trimble OF
– César Prieto INF
– Noah Denoyer RHP
– Nolan Hoffman RHP
– Nick Richmond RHP
– Easton Lucas LHP
GAME 1 STARTING LINEUP:
Game one is set for tonight, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. EST. You can tune into your local Orioles Radio Network station or watch on Apple TV+ Friday and MASN for Saturday and Sunday’s games.
How do you see this series playing out? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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