Baltimore Orioles: Youth Movement On Center Stage Vs Toronto Blue Jays
By Nick Stevens
The Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays begin a three-game set on Tuesday afternoon, with many young, bright names taking center stage.
A lot has changed since the last time the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays took the field against each other. Back in early April, the Orioles were winning baseball games, Cedric Mullins was a fixture at the top of the lineup, Nate Karns was an opener, and David Hess was good.
Now, Mullins is in AAA and watching him on a nightly basis hurts, Hess is on the fast track to making history (not the good kind), and everyone forgot the team even signed Karns. Say what you will about the Baltimore Orioles (looking at you Jon Heyman), but at least we have John Means!
Toronto owns a 23-42 record, just three games better than the 20-45 mark posted by the Orioles. However, the Blue Jays are trending up and are beginning to see the fruits of their rebuild emerge. Vladimir Guerrero Jr.is going through his growing pains, as expected from any 20-year-old in the major leagues, but he has seven home runs since getting the call-up and is a threat to take any opposing pitcher deep at any moment. Guerrero gets his first taste of the Orioles this week, a team he may thoroughly enjoy playing against across his career in the American League East.
Putting the records aside, the Blue Jays’ recent stretch of just two wins in their last ten games, and the Orioles’ cold streak in Texas, the youth on display will be fun to watch this week at Camden Yards.
Here’s a look at the upcoming series for the Baltimore Orioles and what we’re watching for.
Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays square off for a three-game set at Camden Yards.
Tuesday: John Means (5-4, 2.67 ERA) vs Trent Thornton (1-4, 4.73 ERA)
John Means has made me a believer and I get really excited to sit down and watch Baltimore Orioles baseball when he toes the rubber. Getting the opportunity to watch him go against Guerrero and Biggio will be the most exciting matchups in this series. All three players are likely to become very familiar with each other over the years and I’m a sucker for storylines like this.
Thornton is also an intriguing pitcher, having been selected in the fifth-round of the 2015 draft by the Houston Astros. He hasn’t had much success against the AL East this season, but does have 69 strikeouts in 64 innings, recently fanning 10 in six innings against the San Diego Padres.
Wednesday: David Hess (1-8, 7.08 ERA) vs Edwin Jackson (0-4, 11.90 ERA)
Woof. This one could get pretty ugly from the start. Jackson has given up 26 earned runs across 19 innings since joining Toronto. He has also given up at least one home run in each of his five starts, including three against the Padres and two in his most recent start against the Yankees.
As we mentioned this morning, David Hess is on a historic pace in terms of home runs allowed per game and needs to turn things around immediately. Neither team brings much offense to the table, but Hess and Jackson will likely allow hitters to feel fairly comfortable in the batter’s box on Wednesday night.
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Thursday: Gabriel Ynoa (0-2, 4.96 ERA) vs Marcus Stroman (3-8, 3.31 ERA)
MLB.com has Thursday’s starter as TBD for the Orioles, but the beat staff has already reported that Gabriel Ynoa will climb the hill for Baltimore on Thursday. Ynoa is a member of the starting rotation until Brandon Hyde can find a suitable replacement, meaning Ynoa will be in the starting rotation for a long time. As president of the Gabriel Ynoa fan club, I’m fine with that.
Ynoa’s stuff has been there in his starts with the Orioles. In his two June starts, Ynoa has allowed five earned runs on eight hits across 11 innings.
As for Stroman, the Blue Jays RHP is at the center of nearly every trade deadline discussion and is currently showcasing his talents for teams across the league. He’s allowing more walks this season, but his groundball rate remains high and he’s been effective at limiting base hits, holding hitters to a .253 average across 81 innings.
There’s no doubt that the highlight of this series will be Tuesday night. Let’s hope round one between John Means and the future stars of the Blue Jays goes to everyone’s favorite pitcher in Birdland.