The Blue Jays start a 3 game series with the Orioles in Baltimore tonight.
The O's are in 3rd place in the AL East, 3 games back of our Jays. They are holding down the second Wild Card spot, 2 games up on the Tigers, with 4 other teams within striking distance.
The Orioles are 4th in the AL in runs per game, at 4.73, one spot behind the Jays at 4.89. On defense they sit 3rd from the bottom at 4.68 runs per game. We are number one at 4.12.
I sent off some questions to Mark Brown, manager of Camden Chat.
You guys seem to be going through a little streak of injuries. Can I ask about the status of Adam Jones, Darren O'Day and Chris Tillman?
Adam Jones is the only one of those guys who should be appearing in this series. He is resting a little hamstring thing, or at least what they're calling a little hamstring thing. Supposedly he would have played on Sunday if it had been a night game. I won't be shocked if that drags out a couple of days longer, though.
As for the others, it's a rotator cuff strain for O'Day. He's already past his 15 day stay and it's his second time on the DL already this year. The first time went far longer than they first stated it would, so I expect that again. Tillman's problem was diagnosed as right shoulder bursitis. They're acting like they think he'll only be on the DL for 15 days (retro to August 21) but as you may have noticed, I'm skeptical of their injury timelines.
What do you think about the addition of Tommy Hunter? What will his role be?
The O's adding Hunter is weird. It's like it's an attempt to get some of the 2014 band back together. Another move in this vein was re-acquiring Steve Pearce at the trade deadline. I don't know how they're going to use Hunter. He hadn't pitched terribly before going on the DL and later being released from Cleveland, but he hadn't pitched all that well either. Maybe he could be a seventh inning kind of guy, if circumstances work out that way. But right now the Orioles really just need guys with functioning arms who can give an inning or two when the starter gets bombed out in the fourth inning two nights in a row.
Can we have a quick scouting report on the starting pitchers we are likely to see. How confident are you in the O's starting pitching?
Here are some scouting reports. Wade Miley was the Orioles "big" trade deadline acquisition because they "needed a lefty." Unfortunately they acquired one with a 5 ERA and they don't need any more of those guys. He's been really bad. That's really the sum of it. He's bad. Speaking of bad, I think Ubaldo Jimenez is going to be starting Tuesday's game. Well, he was actually good against the Nationals his last time out, so maybe he's due for a couple of good games, because otherwise he has been horrible. You might be noticing a theme here.
That brings us to Yovani Gallardo. Well, guess what - he's possibly the worst of the bunch. He's definitely the worst free agent signing of Dan Duquette's tenure, unless he turns it around, which he probably won't because his shoulder is a wreck... WHICH THE ORIOLES KNEW AND STILL SIGNED HIM (to a smaller deal than first agreed to, but still). The ERAs of these three starters in their O's action this year: 8.18, 6.62, 5.69. You should be embarrassed for the Blue Jays if they don't get a sweep in this series. It's going to be a bloodbath. A slaughter. I have nothing but dread when I think of these three games.
Your guys and our guys and the twin Evil Empires look to be battling it out to the finish. How confident are you in the Orioles chances? Who do you fear the most?
I have zero confidence that this starting rotation is going to be good enough to get them into the postseason. Did you know that going into Sunday's games, the Orioles rotation ERA was 5.01? And they began the day a game ahead for the second wild card spot, and now they're two games ahead! I don't think it will last if the swoon continues into September, however.
Also, the Orioles are rather quietly awful against left-handed pitching. It's bizarre since they have so many right-handed bats in their lineup. It's two major flaws. September callups will only help them avoid having to shuffle the roster on a daily basis to call up a fresh pitcher from the minors, and none of the guys are very good.
Who do I fear in the wild card chase? Everybody! Any one of those teams could pass the Orioles, and if they keep playing like they've done over the last two weeks, will pass the Orioles. The surging Yankees are making me nervous with their success despite selling at the trade deadline, and I most dread the possibility of the Royals coming back into the picture because I don't need to hear another October worth of narratives about what they are "doing right."
Zach Britton is getting a lot of talk as a possible Cy Young. What do you think, will he win the award? What makes him so good?
I love having Zach Britton as the Orioles closer, but I don't see there being any way that a closer wins the Cy Young in the modern game. Right now he has thrown 53 innings this year. They have been 53 great innings. He is perfect in save chances and his ERA is minuscule. Those are great things. They're just not Cy Young things, especially not when multiple AL starters will probably end up with 20+ wins and another half dozen guys have strong cases. As for what makes him so good, it's all in the sinker, baby.
Who do you think the Orioles will call up for September?
I think the Orioles will end up calling up three or more of Odrisamer Despaigne, Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, Jayson Aquino, and Parker Bridwell. Those are their 40-man pitchers who've had big league time this year. None of them will be any help except for stopping the bleeding in a blowout where they just desperately need SOMEONE to pitch three innings just to get a loss over with, without burning out pitchers who matter. They'll probably call Caleb Joseph back up to carry three catchers. They also might call up Christian Walker, who was pretending to be an outfielder in the minors this year. Maybe they'll surprise me and call up Trey Mancini, who's earned a September call-up, but as a right-handed 1B/DH type, where would there even be room to give him at-bats?
In essence, none of the callups matter in the least. If the starting pitching improves, they'll be in the postseason. If it doesn't, they won't. The end!
Editor's note: SB Nation is partners again with FanDuel. FanDuel runs daily fantasy baseball contests, and, if you finish in the top 10%, you can win money. It's a fun game, give it a try.