The Orioles kick off a seven game home stand tonight that will have the Toronto Blue Jays and Chicago White Sox in town for three- and four-game series respectively. The Orioles have fared well against the Blue Jays this season going 5-4 including a three game sweep at home against the rival AL East club.
While the Orioles are still poised to make a solid run at one of the two American League wild card spots, Toronto’s playoff hopes have all but dried up as they sit dead last in the East with a 56-68 record. This does not mean that they will be a pushover as almost no club has been this year for the Birds and you can expect a banged up Blue Jays squad will do anything they can to prove they are better than their record, especially if it means playing spoiler against a division opponent.
Despite injuries and a deceiving record this Toronto club still loves the long ball as they sit 3rd in the majors with a total of 163 dingers, one behind the Chicago White Sox who come into Camden Yards for a four game set starting Monday. Add in the fact that all these games will be played at the hitter-friendly park that is Camden Yards and you can see why this seven game stretch could be a tough one if the Orioles starting pitchers are unable to keep the ball in the yard.
With Zach Britton going tonight and Chris Tillman getting the nod tomorrow it is anyone’s guess how these games will go. In a perfect world Britton duplicates the success he had against Detroit and delivers another quality start in hopes of deflating his ERA which currently sits over six runs per game.
Tillman, also coming off a win against a very good Texas club that took two of three from the Orioles, has been a great addition to the starting rotation as he sits on a 6-2 record with a 3.71 ERA and another quality start for him would only further cement his spot in the Orioles rotation.
This series may not mean anything but bragging rights to Toronto but it could mean a hell of a lot to the Orioles if they cant take at least two of the games, as they would lose seriousground on both Tampa and other wildcard hopefuls such as Oakland, Detroit and even Chicago.
It’s great to be right in the thick of the playoff hunt and to see the Os playing meaningful baseball this late in the season but if they want to play the games that the city has wanted for 14 years they are going to have to get through Toronto first.