Baltimore Orioles vs Toronto Blue Jays series preview

The Orioles start a key AL East series with the Blue Jays at home
Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics
Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Following the conclusion of their West Coast road trip, the Orioles will come home to face fellow AL East team Toronto. The Blue Jays, in their most recent set of games, traveled to Cincinnati. They lost their first game 1-0, won the second 4-3, and won the third game 10-3.

The Orioles, meanwhile, have just played nine games out west, where they enjoyed some mixed results. After taking two out of three against the Mariners, they dropped two out of three against San Diego. A happy ending was achieved for the Birds when they swept the Oakland A's to ensure a 6-3 record overall.

Baltimore Orioles host Toronto Blue Jays to begin homestead

Toronto is the first team the Orioles will compete against as they start a nine game homestand at Camden Yards. With an 8-2 record against the Blue Jays this year, Orioles fans can enter the series with high hopes. Despite this, the Jays are on the cusp of slipping into the last wild-card spot in the American League.

Their main competition in the Seattle Mariners will travel to Chicago to play the White Sox. A good series for either team will boost their playoff stock. The Birds will look to grow their division lead over Tampa Bay against one of their favorite teams to play this season.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1 Starting Pitchers: Grayson Rodriguez and Yusei Kikuchi

Tuesday's game pits one of the Blue Jays best starters this season against a reinvented Orioles pitcher. Kikuchi, with a 9-4 record and a 3.44 ERA has been very reliable for Toronto this year. The Japanese born 32 year old has only given up one run respectively in each of his past three appearances, and making good contact against him could prove difficult for the Birds.

Grayson Rodriguez, who has spent time this year in both the Majors and the team's farm system, makes another trip to the mound in what has been a brilliant return. A shutout of the Yankees and a seven-inning outing of one-run baseball against the Padres have the fireballer coming into the outing on his best form. Kikuchi might be one of the most consistent pitchers in the AL East, but the reborn Rodriguez has been showing the skill needed to compete against the major's best pitchers.

Game 2 Starting Pitchers: Jack Flaherty and Kevin Gausman

Two pitchers with modest stats take the rubber for Wednesday night's matchup. Gausman, the former Oriole, is 9-7 this season with a 3.24 ERA. He is truly a hit-or-miss starter. Seven runs, five of which he earned, were put on him when he last pitched, against the Phillies. Before that, though, he enjoyed seven innings of four-hit baseball with no runs allowed.

Flaherty, who arrived from Saint Louis in the dying moments of the trade deadline, is 8-8 with a 4.73 ERA. He too had a horrible last outing which was preceded by more controlled performances. It seems that each pitcher alternates between good and bad games, and whichever one is on their best stuff is more likely to win this duel.

Game 3 Starting Pitchers: Dean Kremer and Jose Berrios

Thursday's series finale has Orioles starter Dean Kremer facing off against the Blue Jays Jose Berrios. With a 9-8 record, Berrios can pitch a gem or get blown out on any given day. His 3.39 ERA is much lower than Kremer's 4.50, but his season form has been wildly unpredictable.

While not something that most stat compilations keep track of, Kremer's 11-5 record with such a high ERA has to be one of the best. Five to seven innings, and two to four runs; that is what most of Kremer's year has looked like. If the birds put up any type of run support for their pitcher, than this might be a bit of a mismatch.

Baltimore and Toronto's current form

Baltimore enters the series with a 7-3 record in their past ten games. Toronto, in that same stretch, is 5-5. Both teams have off on Monday; as the Orioles fly back across the country, the Jays have a much shorter trip to Camden Yards from Ohio. The Orioles have been scoring just enough runs to win the games they pitch well in, while also losing the games they do fall in by decent margins.

The Blue Jays offense is struggling to find inspiration at the moment, and their recent drubbing of the Reds might not have been the best placed. Two close pitching matchups, followed by a mismatch, could lead the Orioles to another series victory against their divisional foes.