Blue Jays series preview vs. Baltimore Orioles

Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) slides into second base ahead of the tag from Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) slides into second base ahead of the tag from Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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Toronto nearly escaped a sweep to the rebuilding Atlanta Braves this week. The Blue Jays will look to turn things around against their division rivals this weekend at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The Toronto Blue Jays (18-24) are coming off a disappointing four-game home-and-home series against the Atlanta Braves. The last place Blue Jays are eight games back of first in the American League East, and four games back of a wild-card spot.

The Baltimore Orioles (23-16) return home after stumbling to a 1-6 record on their road trip. The Orioles head into the weekend series in second place in the American League East, 1 1/2 games back of the New York Yankees.

What You Need To Know

TV: Sportsnet One (Friday), Sportsnet (Saturday & Sunday)

Radio: Sportsnet 590 The FAN

Probable Starters

Friday, May 19 7:05 p.m. ET

RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 2.95 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (1-0, 2.89 ERA)

Sanchez will make his fifth start of the season and his second start since coming off the DL. The 24-year old owns a 5-3 record with a 4.31 ERA in 14 career appearances against the Orioles.

Tillman has yet to last longer than five innings in his first two starts after coming off the DL. The 29-year old is 5-10 with a 5.44 ERA in 24 career starts against the Blue Jays.

Saturday, May 20 7:35 p.m. ET

RHP Mike Bolsinger (0-2, 6.10 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 7.19 ERA)

Bolsinger will likely make one more start before Francisco Liriano returns from the DL. Bolsinger’s curveball was not helpful in his last start on Monday, hitting three batters while he allowed five earned runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Gausman has struggled since his Opening Day start. In his previous start, Gausman watched a five-run lead evaporate to the hands of the Kansas City Royals. The righty owns a 7.19 ERA.

Sunday, May 21 1:35 p.m. ET

RHP Marco Estrada (2-2, 3.60 ERA) vs. LHP Wade Miley (1-1, 3.02 ERA)

Estrada found a lot of hits in his last start on Tuesday. He allowed five earned runs on eight hits in over six innings pitched. Hopefully, Estrada will be able to elevate his fastball this time around, which limited his effectiveness in his changeups in his previous start.

Miley went five innings in his last start. He has struggled with his command in his pitches this season with 27 walks to his name so far this season.

Players To Watch

Two left-handed hitters (one is a switch-hitter) who both play first base. Justin Smoak and Chris Davis are racking up the home runs for their respective teams.

After a slow April, Davis’ bat is starting to heat up as he is 8-for-18 (.444 batting average) in his last five games while hitting five home runs and nine RBI in that span.

Smoak has emerged as on the Blue Jays best hitters this season. He leads the team in home runs (9) and RBI (27) with an impressive slash line of .280/.342/.545/.888.

Player Injuries 

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

Toronto

3B Josh Donaldson (10-day DL strained right calf)

LHP J.A. Happ (10-day DL left elbow inflammation)

C Russell Martin (10-day DL nerve irritation, left shoulder)

LHP Francisco Liriano (10-day DL left shoulder inflammation)

OF Dalton Pompey (60-day DL concussion)

RHP Bo Schultz (60-day DL torn right UCL- out for season)

RHP Glenn Sparkman (60-day DL fractured right thumb)

SS Troy Tulowitzki (10-day DL strained right hamstring)

Baltimore

LHP Zach Britton (10-day DL strained left forearm)

LF Anthony Santander (10-day DL right elbow inflammation)

RHP Gabriel Ynoa (10-day DL strained right hamstring)

Manny Machado could very well return to the Orioles lineup after sitting out Thursday’s game against Detroit.  Troy Tulowitzki could also return as early as Friday if not, sometime this weekend. Tulo played in a rehab game for Class A Advanced Dunedin on Thursday.

The Blue Jays will also be without Darrell Ceciliani who appeared to have separated his shoulder after hitting a home run in last night’s 9-0 victory against the Braves. Kevin Pillar will be out at least one more game due to his suspension

Next: Blue Jays’ Anthony Alford dishes on life and baseball

Baltimore currently owns the season series with a 5-1 record over Toronto. The Blue Jays will get a day off on Monday before playing a two-game series at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers.

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