Sep 27, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays players mob third baseman Josh Donaldson (20, red sunglasses) at home plate after he hit a walk off home run in the ninth inning to give the Jays a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays hit the road on Monday to begin their final seven-game road trip of the season in Baltimore against the rival Orioles. With a playoff spot already in hand, the Blue Jays will look to wrap up the American League East before ultimately hunting down the Kansas City Royals for top spot in the A.L. and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Baltimore’s season has mirrored some of those from recent Blue Jays memory, as they stayed involved in the playoff race through the early stages of the season before falling back towards a sub-.500 level. Now sitting at 76-79 and third in the A.L. East, Baltimore has long since set their sights on 2016.
The tension between these two teams should make for great baseball, however, and the playing field has a way of levelling itself in late September as players fight for jobs, contracts and pride. While the Orioles rank in the middle of the pack in terms of runs scored and in the bottom third of the MLB in cumulative team batting average, they remain a constant power threat as their 204 home runs trail only the Blue Jays, Astros and Yankees.
Eyes will also be on Troy Tulowitzki this series, as the injured Blue Jays shortstop looks to return to the lineup before the club flies to Tampa Bay. Doing so would allow Tulo to regain some level of timing over a three-to-four game stretch before playoff baseball begins.
Let’s get you started by previewing this week’s pitching matchups…
Next: Game 1 Preview: Tillman just wants this to stop