ORIOLES (25-61) AT BLUE JAYS (33-55)
7:07 p.m. ET; SN, MASN, MLB.TV
The two worst teams in the American League East meet in a three-game series starting Friday night when the Baltimore Orioles visit the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays dropped two of three games to the Boston Red Sox this week, capped by an 8-7 defeat Thursday night.
Toronto failed to hold a 6-1 lead, then came back to tie the score 7-7 in the eighth before losing on a pinch-hit homer by Boston’s Marco Hernandez in the top of the ninth.
The Blue Jays are 4-3 on their 10-game homestand that opened with three wins in four games against the Kansas City Royals.
The Orioles had Thursday off after avoiding being swept in a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. They rode a six-run ninth inning to a 9-6 victory Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Orioles, who are 3-3 in their past six games, will start right-hander Dylan Bundy (3-10, 4.91 ERA) Friday against Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-11, 6.31).
The Orioles won two of three games as the visitors against the Blue Jays on April 1-3. The Blue Jays won two of three in Baltimore on June 11-13.
Sanchez has lost 10 straight decisions over his past 12 starts and has an ERA of 8.52 in that span. The team is 1-11 in those starts. He has not won since April 27.
Earlier this week, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said he did not intend to banish Sanchez to the bullpen.
“I talked to him (Monday) in the dugout and he feels positive that he can turn this thing around,” Montoyo said. “That’s all you can ask from a player. He (said) ‘I’m going to turn it around, I’m going to be OK.’ So we’ll see. He’s got the arm to do it. He’s going to get another chance, that’s for sure.”
Sanchez pitched three innings Sunday against the Royals, allowing six runs on seven hits and walking four batters. Against the Orioles, he has a 6-3 career record with a 3.90 ERA in 18 appearances (13 starts).
The 27-year-old has dealt with finger issues on his right hand in recent seasons.
Another scenario has the Blue Jays possibly sending him to Triple-A Buffalo on an option. They have only until Sunday to use the option route because by then he will have attained five years of service time in the majors and could refuse a demotion through that process and would have to clear waivers before being demoted.
Bundy is 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA in 11 career games (seven starts) against the Blue Jays. He is 2-1 with a 5.01 ERA in five games (four starts) at the Rogers Centre.
If the Blue Jays have a struggling pitcher in Sanchez, the Orioles have a struggling outfielder in Keon Broxton, who is batting .194/.235/.312 in 30 games since he was acquired in a trade after the New York Mets designated him for assignment.
“I think I’ve played great defense, done a little bit of things here and there with the bat,” Broxton told the Baltimore Sun. “But it’s been really inconsistent, so I’m just trying to find a way to get more consistent.”
“Keon’s come as advertised defensively,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “He’s done a great job in center field, swung the bat pretty well early when he got to us. I think he’s struggling a little bit offensively right now, and he hits tirelessly with our hitting guys. He shows, at times, there’s some ABs in there where he stays closed and uses the whole field. But obviously, he’s struggled a little bit, and we’re hoping to get him on track.”
–Field Level Media