Blue Jays @ Orioles Series Preview
Toronto Blue Jays (59-91) Baltimore Orioles (49-101)
If you could name this series, you’d probably dub it the ‘at least we’re not the Detroit Tigers’ three-gamer. That’s, of course, being cynical, but bar some farm system magic, neither of these rosters will get the blood pumping too quickly over the next few years.
Perhaps this is a case of just where things lie. While the Orioles are already there, it’s likely that both these teams are worthy of losing 100 games, it could well be the six games they face against the Camden Yards dwellers that saves them the shame.
Half of the Toronto Blue Jays’ last twelve games come against baseball’s second-worst team, and while it doesn’t make for an exciting trip to the ballpark, this may act as one final chance to see just where the rotation lies, on top of just how quickly prospects can make the step up to the bigs.
Because, let’s face it, a lineup featuring prospects like Bichette and Guerrero Jr. should get people excited. Pieces like Grichuk probably haven’t worked out, and him hitting below his career average at the age of 28 isn’t really a good sign. His .235 will be one of the biggest disappointments since acquiring him from St. Louis.
There’s no doubt that Toronto will be looking to outfielders in their rebuild, as their infield looks set for 2020, if they’re willing to accept Brandon Drury’s prone to a bad year. Unless of course, he’s never quite recovered from that broken hand a year ago.
Expect Charlie Montoyo to experiment with the Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup here, with the emphasis on base-running improvement and plate patience.
The Orioles will probably resist the urge to bring Adley Rutschman into the fold, and while he’s likely a shoo-in to be the best catcher in baseball in a couple of years, he’s focusing now on the playoffs in the South Atlantic League.
Wild Card Run-Ins:
The exciting part of this season is that there’s no clear runaway in either Wild Card race. Oakland currently lead the AL, despite losing the series opener to the Royals. They had won six straight prior to this and will still be favourites to take over .500 between the remainder of the series against Kansas City and the hosting of the Rangers, starting Friday night.
Tampa Bay may well have won 13 of their last 17, but they’re facing an eight-game run-in against the Dodgers, Red Sox and Yankees while Cleveland have home comforts with the Tigers and Phillies before going to Chicago to take on the White Sox over three games.
In the National League, the Nats look primed to see off all competition bar Milwaukee and Chicago. But they need to find their stride again. A couple of starts are due up for the beef of the rotation, and they’ll need them given recent form. Their final series with Cleveland may determine their Wild Card fate.
The Cubs may be the form team in baseball right now, and their astounding 47-run series against Pittsburgh might be enough of a boost to see them fend off advances from Milwaukee. The Brewers need to take at least two games, if not sweep the Padres in Miller Park this week, and if they don’t, that could be the end of the interest.