The Baltimore Orioles are limping--they have lost 4 in a row and have gone 3-7 in their last 10 games. As we saw last night, despite the late-inning rally, they look like the Orioles we have been seeing for the past decade or so. Having won the first two games of the three-game series, it's time for starter Brandon Morrow and the Toronto Blue Jays to deliver the knockout punch and sweep them out of town.
If the Blue Jays are successful in doing that, they would have finished with an even .500 record since May 14th when they started the toughest part of their schedule to date. If they do that, I will be happy, and probably so should you. Especially the 68 of you who voted in the poll on Monday saying that the Jays would sweep the Orioles.
Brandon Morrow is coming off of his shortest, and worst, outing of 2012. I am not going to rehash the ugliness of his night in Arlington, and will just say that it was his second-worst start in his career by game score (15) but probably was subjectively worse than this game where he had a game score of 8. Funny, I don't remember the Jays playing any games that weekend last year. I had good seats at the Rogers Centre last night, sitting above the Jays' 3rd base dugout, and throughout the entire game I saw Brandon Morrow standing on the top step clapping and cheering on his teammates. It was really nice to see him seem relaxed and enjoying the game. We will see how much that helps with his performance tonight.
|2012 - Brandon Morrow||5-3||10||10||2||2||0||0||62.1||47||26||24||7||20||54||3.47||1.07|
In the other corner tonight will be the 6'6", 225 lb. righty Jason Hammel. Hammel was solid the last time he faced the Blue Jays, shutting them out over 7 innings striking out 7 while giving up only 4 hits and a walk. That was back on April 25 and still remains the one and only time Toronto has been shutout this season. Hammel struggled a bit in mid-May, giving up 4 earned runs each in his starts against the Yankees and the Nationals, but he bounced back nicely when he struck out 7 Royals, shutting them out through 6 innings pitched.
Hammel has a 5-pitch arsenal, mainly throwing a four-seamer, a sinking two-seamer, and a slider along with a change and a curve. His fastballs are both averaging 94 mph so far this season and they go well with a slider that goes at 85 mph and a curve at 78 mph. He is not an easy foe to defeat.
|2012 - Jason Hammel||6-1||9||9||0||0||0||0||55.0||45||18||17||3||17||53||2.78||1.13|
First and last place in the American League East is only separated by 3.5 games, with the Orioles hanging onto a 0.5 game lead in first place after the Chicago White Sox swept the Tampa Bay Rays. A Blue Jays win today would put the Orioles in a tie for first with the Rays, with the Jays sitting 2 games back. Toronto is currently 1 game back of Cleveland for the last Wild Card spot, with New York in between.
Lineups and ground rules after the jump!
No Nick Markakis for the Orioles, no Kelly Johnson for the Jays.
- Endy Chavez LF
- J.J. Hardy SS
- Chris Davis DH
- Adam Jones CF
- Matt Wieters C
- Mark Reynolds 1B
- Wilson Betemit 3B
- Ryan Flaherty RF
- Robert Andino 2B
- Yunel Escobar SS
- Colby Rasmus CF
- Jose Bautista RF
- Edwin Encarnacion 1B
- Brett Lawrie 3B
- David Cooper DH
- J.P. Arencibia C
- Omar Vizquel 2B
- Rajai Davis LF
Reminder: a few ground rules for the gamethreads that are in effect.