BLUE JAYS (44-67) AT ORIOLES (36-72)
7:05 p.m. ET; MASN, SN, MLB.TV
The Toronto Blue Jays (+1.5) showed some power in the first game of their series with the Orioles in Baltimore on Thursday night, finishing with five homers. They’ll try to do more of the same while looking for a fifth straight victory on Friday in the second game of this weekend series.
Toronto swept a three-game series in Kansas City and then routed the Orioles 11-2 Thursday. When the weather and humidity are higher, the balls fly out of Camden Yards, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. led the way with two home runs.
Danny Jansen, Randal Grichuk and Billy McKinney added the other three homers. Nine of the team’s 11 runs came via the long ball in the game. The Blue Jays’ offense has been rolling lately, scoring at least seven runs in five of their past six games.
Toronto made a bunch of moves at the trade deadline this week but that didn’t impact the winning streak. The younger players like Guerrero, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette — all of whom had fathers who had good-to-Hall of Fame careers in the major leagues — are giving the Blue Jays’ offense a boost.
The 20-year old Guerrero, in fact, has driven in 16 runs in his last five games. He finished Thursday’s game with four RBIs. The 24-year old Jansen hit a three-run homer in Thursday’s win and told MLB.com that the younger players are ready to step up.
“You can feel the confidence the club has in the younger guys,” Jansen said. “You can definitely see that the opportunities are here, and they’re readily available. The opportunities that we have are amazing.”
Toronto also has to see about Grichuk, who fouled a pitch off his face, apparently bloodying his lower lip, and came out late in Thursday’s win.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (knee) sat out Thursday but was available, according to MLB.com, which also indicated that relief pitcher Jason Adam was called up from Triple-A Buffalo. Also, MLB.com reported that pitcher Brock Stewart was optioned to Buffalo after Toronto acquired him on waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers (-1.5) on Wednesday.
As of late Thursday night, the Blue Jays had yet to announce a starting pitcher for Friday’s game.
Baltimore will go with Aaron Brooks (2-4, 5.46 ERA). The right-hander has not fared well against Toronto in his career, going 0-3 with a 24.55 ERA.
The Orioles returned home after a strong 5-4 West Coast swing that included three wins in four games over the Los Angeles Angels (+1.5) last week. That trip helped the Orioles end July with a 12-12 record after they won only six games in June.
Baltimore also made a bit of a surprising move at the trade deadline by not making any major league moves. The Orioles shipped minor league pitcher Dan Straily to the Philadelphia Phillies (-1.5) for cash in their only deal.
Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said the right deal never materialized at this deadline. The only major league move the team made was trading Andrew Cashner to Boston a few weeks ago.
“There are no pending free agents left on this club other than (Mark) Trumbo, who’s injured,” Elias told MASN.com. “And it makes for a much different calculus when you’re talking about trading those guys than when you’re looking at a situation we had with Andrew Cashner, who was not going to be here next year.”
The Orioles might have to make another small move if one of the players injured in Thursday’s loss can’t go. Starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski had hip soreness but said he’s dealt with this before and isn’t worried.
Infielder Hanser Alberto had some swelling in his leg after fouling a ball off his shin. X-rays were negative. And the story was the same for Stevie Wilkerson, who fouled a ball off his knee. Manager Brandon Hyde said they’d take a look at both players Friday.
–Field Level Media