After opening up their ten-game home stand with a statement-making sweep over the visiting Mariners, the red-hot Orioles will carry an amazing seven-game win streak into their four-game clash versus Toronto.
The Orioles (68-65) have used their stellar run of form to launch themselves onto the Minnesota Twins’ doorstep for the final wild card slot in the AL and now trail by just 1.5-games. They’ve also pulled themselves to just 2.5-games behind the Yankees for second place in the division and the first wild card spot in the American League. Make no mistake about it: a 17-11 month of August and an impressive 26-16 mark over their last forty-two ballgames has turned these Orioles from hopeful challengers into prime contenders.
The buzzing O’s will look to keep the ball rolling through the weekend. With a sparkling 41-26 record at home on the year and a 9-3 record versus the Blue Jays this season, the Orioles have a prime shot at taking down the Twins and ending the week with a playoff spot in their back pocket.
The Blue Jays (62-71) have been stuck in the cellar of the AL East pretty much all season long, but they weren’t technically out of the playoff picture (as crazy as that sounds) until a current 2-10 skid sent them to eleven games below .500. In fact, Toronto started the month of August on fire with a 10-5 record until crashing and burning over the latter half of the month. The Jays have also won just twice over their last nine games on the road. Lastly, they’ll be looking to snap a current four-game losing skid versus the Birds in tonight’s series opener.
Will the Orioles continue to hammer down versus their division rivals, or will the Blue Jays stun the uber-hot Orioles and come away from Birdland with a shocker?
We’re about to find out. Let’s go to the starters.
Hellickson was magnificent during his last start versus the Red Sox and allowed just two earned runs on four hits over seven stellar innings en route to his eighth win of the season and his second since joining the Orioles. Over five starts since being acquired in July, Hellickson is 2-2 with a 5.46 ERA. The former Ray will provide a nice boost in September by way of having a ton of experience pitching in the AL East. Case in point: over a whopping sixteen career starts versus the Blue Jays, Hellickson owns a 5-5 record and a solid 3.61 ERA.
Estrada turned in a solid performance during his last start versus Minnesota and allowed three runs on five hits over six innings. It’s been a strange season for the Jays veteran, as he carried the torch in the early goings of the season before bottoming out with a 7.86 ERA over the months of June and July. He’s responded by posting a solid 2-1 record and 4.45 ERA over five starts in August. Over eleven career starts versus Baltimore, Estrada has dazzled to the tune of a 5-1 record and a 2.26 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and .184 BAA.
Gausman turned in a gem of an outing during his last start in Boston and allowed just four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. The Orioles red-hot fireballer has now gone 5-2 with an incredible 2.26 ERA over his last eight starts. Over his last twelve outings, Gausman boasts a sparkling 7-2 record and a rock-solid 3.30 ERA. Over eleven career starts versus Toronto, Gausman has notched a 4-3 record and a 3.59 ERA. Look for the gas man to stay lit in this one. He’s dealing.
Biagini was roughed up by the Twins during his last outing and allowed five runs on nine hits over 3 2/3 innings. The Jays young hurler has not been at his best as of late, and after posting a 7.50 ERA over twelve contests in July, he’s posted an 11.25 ERA over two games in August since re-joining the team. Over thirteen career appearances versus the Orioles, Biagini has recorded a 3.31 ERA over 16 1/3 innings of work.
Miley turned in a bulldog-esque performance during his last start in Boston and allowed just a single run on seven hits over five innings en route to his eighth win of the season. Miley has been phenomenal as of late with a sparkling 4-1 record and 2.76 ERA over his last six contests, and will look to carry that momentum through September. Over nine career starts versus Toronto, Miley is 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA.
Simply put, the Jays would be in an even worse way if not for the stellar Stroman. While he didn’t get the win despite holding the Sox to just one run on seven hits over six innings during his last start, Toronto is 16-11 with him on the mound this season. Stroman carried the torch through the entire first half of the season with an impressive 9-5 record and a 3.28 ERA over eighteen starts, and he’s been even more impressive during the second half of the season with an awesome 2.78 ERA and a 2-1 record over nine contests.
Tillman wasn’t at his best during his last start versus Seattle and allowed six runs on three hits and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. The O’s veteran owns an 8.44 ERA over 10 2/3 innings of work in his two starts since re-joining the rotation and is winless over his last sixteen starts. Over twenty-five career starts versus the Jays, Tillman has gone 5-10 with a 5.40 ERA.
Anderson turned in an impressive Blue Jays debut versus the Red Sox in his last start and allowed just a single run on six hits over 5 2/3 innings, but took a tough-luck loss in the end. The veteran southpaw was released by the Cubs at the end of July, and lasted a little over two weeks on the market before the injury-riddled Blue Jays snapped him up. He’s always been solid when healthy. The former Athletic and Dodger will be making his second career start versus the Orioles in this match-up and his first since April 2010 while he was still in Oakland.
That’s it for now, Orioles fans!
Here’s to keeping the hammer down, and keeping the streak alive!