Orioles-Blue Jays weekend preview

By Bob Elliott

The Birds of Baltimore and the Blue Birds from Toronto have battled before this season.

Reliever Darren O’Day buzzed Jose Bautista high and tight, then Bautista went deep.
Bautista thought Jesse Garcia did too.

And after Bautista measured his home run trot with an hour glass, all-star centre fielder Adam Jones barked at Bautista on his way out to right field as the Orioles left the field at the end of the inning. 

Bautista was so angry he made the mistake of attempting to throw out Delmon Young at first on a single to right. The result was a shoulder injury and 33 games at DH for Bautista.

The defending AL East champion Orioles come in to play the first-place Jays five games below .500 (64-69), 6 1/2 games back of the Texas Rangers for the second wild-card spot.

It’s been a while since the Orioles visited when the Jays were battling for first-place in September

_ Labour Day weekend, 1991, the Jays took two of three to move three games up.

Toronto won the opener, it’s first game under Gene Tenace, with Cito Gaston in hospital for a back back, 5-4 with Joe Carter tripled and Cory Snyder singled in the 12th making a winning out of reliever Mike Timlin.

Next Ben McDonald beat David Wells 8-4, with lefty Mike Flangan getting the save and Todd Stottlemyre and Duane Ward beat Bob Milacki 3-1 in two hours and one minute. Candy Maldonado and Carter homered.

_ Sept 13-16, 1990, the Jays came home from Kansas City four games behind the Boston Red Sox. Jose Mesa beat Dave Stieb in the opener, but the Jays won the next three cutting the Boston lead to one game.

Then, came three consecutive walk-off wins: John Olerud singled facing Gregg Olson with two out in the ninth to make a winner out of Willie Blair, Kelly hit a three-run homer off Curt Schilling with none out in the ninth for a 4-3 win as Blair won again and George Bell hit a fly ball to score Tony Fernandez from third.     

_ Sept. 29, final weekend, 1989. The Jays came home for the final three-game series with a one-game lead over the Orioles. It would up being only a two-game series.

Down 1-0 in the eighth Mookie Wilson led off with a single, Fred McGriff forced Wilson and Tom Lawless pinch ran and stole second. Bell bounced out as Lawless reached third.     Olson’s 1-2 pitch to Gruber went to the screen and Lawless scored.

Manny Lee led off the bottom of the 11th with a single facing Mark Williamson, Nelson Liriano pinch run, advanced on a ground ball and scored on a Lloyd Moseby single.

Now, the Jays could wrap up the division on Saturday but were down 3-1 in the eighth. Liriano walked and so did Lee (they combined for 63 in 800 plate appearances). Moseby, who had seven sacrifices all season, moved Liriano and pinch runner up.

Wilson singled in Liriano, McGriff singled in Ducey and George Bell flew out deep to right allowing Wilson to score the winner.

Tom Henke picked up the save in relief of Frank Wills, who pitched four scoreless.

This was Gaston’s greatest job managing, taking over for Jimy Williams, ousted when his team was 12-24. He should have won Manager of the Year honors.

_ Sept. 14-17, 1987. Jim Clancy got all the run support with 10 homers as the Jays thumped the O’s 18-3. Ernie Whitt led the way with three homers, while Rance Mulliniks and George Bell had two apiece while Moseby, Ducey and McGriff each went deep once.

Flanagan won 6-2 and Jimmy Key, Jeff Musselman and Henke combined on a six-hit 7-0 shut out.

The Jays were tied for first with the Detroit Tigers when the series began and they were tied when they left.

Cory Snyder, Willie Blair, Tom Lawless, Jeff Musselman and Frank Wills all important names from Septembers past. 

Baltimore Orioles vs. Blue Jays

Friday 7:07 PM, Baltimore, RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 4.34) vs. Blue Jays RHP Drew Hutchison (13-2, 4.87)

Saturday 1:07 PM, Baltimore, RHP Terry Doyle (15-2 at double-A Bowie, triple-A Norfolk) vs. Blue Jays, David Price (13-5, 2.47)

Sunday, 1:07 PM, Baltimore, Chris Tillman (9-10, 4.87) vs. Blue Jays Mark Buehrle (14-6, 3.53)
.252 AVG .266
9th RANKS 3rd
173 HRs 185
37 STEALS 68
3.95 ERA 3.72
7th RANK 5th
7.64 K/9 7.01

1B Chris Davis hit his 152nd career homer as an Oriole, surpassing Chris Hoiles for sole possession of 11th on the Orioles all-time home run list. Since June 20 (65 games) he is hitting .286 with nine doubles, 24 homers, 58 RBIs and a .993 OPS. It was also his 89th and 90th career home runs at Camden Yards, surpassing Melvin Mora for fourth on the all-time home run list. His fourth career walk-off home run and second of the season to beat the Rays 7-6 Wednesday night.

2B Jonathan Schoop had a game-tying, two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday against Tampa Bay. Of his 60 hits this season, 23 have gone for extra bases (12 doubles, 11 home runs).

LHP Brian Matusz tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings and now has a 0.84 ERA (10 2/3 innings) over his last 13 outings recording four outs on four pitches. He became the third pitcher since 1991 to record four outs on four pitches according to STATS, LLC. (last, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia, June 7 against St. Louis).

CF Adam Jones is hitless in his last nine appearances and is batting .200 since Aug. 17 (13-for-65) with two doubles, two homers, four RBIs and a .558 OPS. He homered July 31 against Detroit passing Ken Singleton for sole possession of seventh place on the Orioles all-time home run list and now has 193 career homers. 

3B Ryan Flaherty is hitless in his last 10 at-bats and .095 (5-for-54) since July 25 with two homers, two RBIs and a .359 OPS. 
OF Steve Pearce is 1-for-his-last 13 and is hitting .196 (9-for-46) since July 7 with a double, triple, three homers, three RBIs and a .717 OPS.


ELLIOTT’S TAKE: The Jays have won seven of 12 meetings with the Orioles this year after Baltimore won of 11 of 19 in 2014.

Jimenez is 5-4 with a 4.10 career ERA in 12 career games -- 11 starts -- against the Jays, walking 33 and striking out 58 in 62 2/3 innings. He faces Hutchison, the Jays’ Ignitor, is 5-1 with a 3..13 ERA in 10 starts with 12 walks and 67 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings.

Doyle, 29, selected in 37th round of 2008 draft makes his major-league debut. Price is 7-4 lifetime in 18 starts against the O’s with a 2.73 ERA walking 30 and fanning 112 in 115 1/3 innings.

Tillman is 4-9 with a 5.68 ERA in 18 career starts against the Jays with 29 walks and 75 strikeouts in 104 2/3 innings. Buehrle is 11-10 in 28 game -- 26 starts -- with a 3.52 ERA against Baltimore with 45 walks and 95 strikeouts in 171 1/3 innings. 

PREDICTION: If we knew what was really going to happen we’d be Carson City, Nev., home of Charles Kerfeld, Philadelphia Phillies pro scout with our feet up.

Since we don’t we’ll go with Jays have a pitching advantage in the opener and in the finale, with Price looking like an overwhelming fave facing a career minor-leaguer making his first start. Looks like a reverse lock for that game. And that 1 1/2 game lead is not etched in a stone tablet. There will be changes.

So, we’ll take the Jays to win two of three.