The Baltimore Orioles have lost three straight tightly contested games. With Garrett Olson set to take the mound, they may be hard-pressed to keep the score close in the middle game of their series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Coming off yet another heartbreaking defeat, the Orioles look to avoid dropping four straight for the first time in a month when they face the Blue Jays on Wednesday night.
Baltimore (44-44) has been edged by a combined four runs during its skid. The opener of this series saw the Orioles squander a four-run lead and lose 7-6 on Tuesday in the bottom of the ninth when shortstop Freddie Bynum misplayed a routine grounder.
“These are the kind of games you can’t lose,” Baltimore catcher Ramon Hernandez said. “It’s really hard to lose a game when you’re winning going into the seventh by four or five runs.”
Baltimore has held the lead in each of its last six losses, and its bullpen has compiled a 5.52 ERA in the last eight games overall.
A loss Wednesday would saddle the Orioles with their first four-game losing streak since May 28-June 1. If Baltimore hopes to avoid another loss, it may need a big game at the plate with Olson (6-3, 5.04 ERA) struggling.
Olson is 1-1 with a 6.30 ERA in his last four starts. In his last outing, the left-hander gave up six runs - five earned - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings as Baltimore lost 10-7 to Kansas City on Thursday night.
Olson was the losing pitcher in his only career start versus the Blue Jays (43-47). He struggled through 2 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and six hits while walking four in a 5-2 loss on Aug. 17.
Toronto will counter with A.J. Burnett (8-8, 4.92), who struggled against Baltimore on June 7. He gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings in a 9-5 loss.
Burnett is 5-1 with a 4.53 ERA in seven career starts against the Orioles.
The veteran right-hander is coming off one of his worst outings of the season, allowing eight runs - six earned - and a season-high 12 hits in seven innings as Toronto lost 8-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Burnett, though, has won three straight starts at home, posting a 1.35 ERA in that span. He won his last outing at Rogers Centre, tossing seven innings while striking out 11 in a 1-0 victory over Atlanta on June 29.
The Blue Jays went 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position on Tuesday en route to winning its third straight at home.
Alex Rios was the catalyst in Tuesday’s win, delivering a three-run triple and scoring the winning run on Bynum’s error. It was the Blue Jays’ first walk-off victory since a 2-1 win over the New York Yankees last Sept. 13.
“We needed a game like that, a come-from-behind game, as far as getting the club rolling,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “Hopefully it will give us a boost.”