With their win last night, and combined with a Toronto Blue Jays loss, the Baltimore Orioles moved to just 4 1/2 games back of the AL East leading Blue Jays and tonight the two teams will begin a big four game series at Camden Yards. Both teams could vastly alter the look of the division in this series.
As we already mentioned, the O's and Jays will begin a four game series tonight at Camden Yards and the pitching matchups for the series are as follows:
- Thursday – Kevin Gausman (1-1) vs Mark Buehrle (10-2)
- Friday – Ubaldo Jimenez (2-7) vs Drew Hutchinson (4-4)
- Saturday – Bud Norris (5-5) vs R.A. Dickey (6-4)
- Sunday – Chris Tillman (5-3) vs J.A. Haap (5-3)
Baltimore's starting pitchers have been fantastic as of late as they have allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of their last 13 combined starts and are coming off of a three game series with the Boston Red Sox in which the entire pitching staff allowed one run over 27 innings.
As hot as the Orioles pitching staff has been as of late, they will be facing a team that has quite an offense as they are fifth in baseball with a .261 average, lead all of baseball in home runs, have scored the third most runs in the MLB, and have the second highest OPS in the game. Through six games between the two teams this season, the Blue Jays have hit .269 with 12 home runs and 35 runs scored, which comes to 5.83 runs per game against Baltimore in 2014.
Orioles pitchers have not allowed more home runs to any other team than they have the Blue Jays this season and the 35 runs Toronto has scored against the Birds is also more than any other Baltimore opponent this season.
On the flip side, Baltimore's offense has fared pretty well when playing Toronto as the .257 team average the Orioles have against the Blue Jays this season is in the middle of the pack for O's opponents, while the eight home runs the Birds have hit against Toronto is tied for the most against a single opponent this season by Baltimore. The Orioles have scored 29 runs in the six games the two teams have played which is slightly below the 5.83 runs per game Toronto has boasted.
It's pretty simple what the Orioles will need to do to be successful in this series and that is for the starting pitchers to continue their recent trend of success as the pitching staff has to slow down the Blue Jays potent offense. If Baltimore can keep the Blue Jays under five runs, it is obvious that with Baltimore's offense, the O's would have a much better chance at getting some victories in this series.
The complexion of the entire division could be altered based on what happens in this series. The Orioles could find themselves just a half game back to as much as 8 1/2 games back at the end of this series.
Both the Orioles and New York Yankees are 4 1/2 games back of the Blue Jays, thus the Yankees are probably going to be keeping a close eye on this series as well because they will have a chance to gain a game every day on either the Orioles or Blue Jays.
We get this thing started tonight and come Sunday evening, we could be looking at a whole knew AL East.
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