Orioles Series Preview: Battling the Blue Jays Once More

The Orioles head to Toronto to face the Blue Jays.

The Orioles are coming off a quick two-game sweep of the Nationals, and now they have to deal with a much tougher opponent.  They are in Toronto for a three-game weekend series against the Blue Jays.  The Orange Birds have done fairly well against the Blue Birds this year, with a 7-6 record, but that is a startling improvement.  The 2021 Orioles were 5-14 against the Jays.

The last time these two teams played each other was just last week, when the Orioles dropped three of four at Camden in a critical series.  Their playoff odds dropped dramatically after that series and the following loss to the Red Sox.  They have inched back up this week, which makes this series a last gasp to stay in the wild card race.  The Orioles are now underdogs on the road, but they had an off day yesterday while the Blue Jays played five games in four days against the Rays.

Friday Night

Get your streaming remotes or laptops out, because the Orioles are on Apple TV+.  It is exciting to see them on a national broadcast, just don’t trust the percentages in the corner.  Brandon Hyde is sending Jordan Lyles to the mound tonight, while Toronto has not announced a starter.

Lyles got lit up by the Sox last time out, but he had been pitching well before that.  He’s been decent in two starts this year against the Blue Jays, giving up four runs in 5.1 innings on June 14 and two runs in 5.2 innings on August 8.  Even though he has been the innings eater this season, I think Lyles (and the two other starters) will be on a short leash.  The bullpen is rested, and the series is high leverage.  Expect to see a lot of Felix Bautista and Dillon Tate this weekend.

It’s hard to scout the opposition when there is no one listed.  We’ll have to wait a few hours.

Saturday Afternoon

Kyle Bradish faces off against Jose Berrios at 3 PM.  The rookie has been great lately, except when he’s played the Jays.  Four of his 19 career starts have come against the team north of the border, and Bradish has allowed at least three earned runs in all of them.  He will need to lean on his excellent slider since the Blue Jays torch fastballs, and Vlad Guerrero and Bo Bichette have been tearing it up lately.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this is more of a piggyback start with Austin Voth or Mike Baumann pitching a few innings.

Berrios has been surprisingly bad this year, but he pitched well in both of his starts against the Orioles.  The shadows on the field will also play a real factor with the retractable roof.  The lineup will need to be patient to see the ball better and knock out Berrios before the sixth inning.  They will then get to a tired and shaky bullpen.  Berrios has also been torched by lefties this season, so expect Hyde to stack the lineup.

Sunday Afternoon

Dean Kremer takes the bump at 1:30 against the ace Alek Manoah.  Kremer has only faced the Blue Jays twice this year, but he was solid both times.  Last week he went five and a third, allowing three runs, two of which were earned.  He has been using his cutter more and more often, and I think that will continue.  He often locates it down and away like a slider, which is good against a righty-heavy lineup.

Manoah has made four starts against the O’s, two of which were excellent and two were just okay.  The key for the Orioles will be laying off his devasting slider.  It tunnels well with his sinker but moves in the opposite direction.  If they sit on the fastball, they should be able to scratch a few across.