Was there a better way to cap off the Blue Jays – Orioles 2015 season series than having the Jays clinch the AL East title on Baltimore’s home soil? The rivalry between the Jays and Orioles was taken to the next level in 2015, and watching the Jays celebrate in front of them must have left a sour taste in the mouth of Darren O’Day and his friends. The 2016 episode of this growing hatred for one another begins today, with the Jays young, enigmatic starter on the mound.
Back in September of the 2014 season, Marcus Stroman threw a fastball behind the head of Caleb Joseph after he had a run-in with Jose Reyes the inning prior. Tempers flared, Buck Showalter had some harsh things to say about Stroman’s actions, and Stroman was ultimately suspended for 6 games.
It was a clear mistake from the young starter – he let his emotions get the best of him. He apologized for his mistake, but I imagine he’d be the first to admit that he won’t back down and limit his emotions anytime they meet on the field.
Due to Stroman’s injury, he didn’t get to face the Orioles in 2015 until September, and of course, he was the one on the mound when the Jays clinched in a 15-2 victory last September. Stroman’s tenure with the Blue Jays is a relatively short one, but his run-in’s with the Orioles have been an interesting storyline to keep an eye on.
That’s just one of the many elements of this rivalry – we haven’t begun to discuss what exists between Jose Bautista and Darren O’Day. Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado came face-to-face in an altercation in 2014. Mike Wright plunked Bautista in a meeting last year, Roberto Osuna was tossed for hitting Adam Jones. Yelling matches have ensued between innings. The list goes on. These teams don’t like each other, and that trend is likely to continue going forward.
From a performance standpoint, the Jays won the season series last year, going 11-9, including a 3-game sweep from April 21-23. These two teams match up fairly well, both putting together strong lineups and playing well defensively, but offer middle of the road starting rotations. However, that’s not exactly how the start of this season has worked out.
Next: Orioles crushing the ball early in 2016