A series with the lowly Baltimore Orioles usually brings out the best in opposing teams.
This is especially true for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays look to move to 10-0 on the season against the Orioles when they open a three-game series Monday night at Rogers Centre.
Toronto (50-49) heads into this set after splitting a doubleheader in Detroit on Sunday to go 6-4 on its first road trip after the All-Star break.
That trip started with the Blue Jays sweeping a three-game series in Baltimore from July 16-18. Toronto shortstop Yunel Escobar(notes), playing in his first games with his new team after being acquired from Atlanta over the break, drove in five runs at Oriole Park last weekend.
Last weekend’s dominance was nothing new for Toronto.
The Blue Jays have outscored the Orioles 48-16 in winning the first nine meetings of the season, including a 16-3 scoring edge in the three in Toronto. The Blue Jays, who haven’t won 10 straight over the Orioles (31-67) in a single season since 1999, have won eight in row over Baltimore at Rogers Centre and 17 of the last 19 there.
Bautista, who hit his major league-leading 27th home run in a 6-5 loss to the Tigers in Sunday’s nightcap, has six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 15 games.
While the Blue Jays came out of the break with a solid road trip, the Orioles finished off a 2-8 homestand with a 10-4 loss to Minnesota on Sunday. One bright spot for the Orioles, though, is they’re getting healthier as catcher Matt Wieters(notes) came off the disabled list Sunday and two-time All-Star second baseman Brian Roberts(notes) was activated Saturday.
Although Baltimore’s offense is one of the worst in the majors, averaging 3.6 runs, interim manager Juan Samuel cited the starting pitching as the team’s most glaring fault. The Orioles, who own an AL-worst 5.11 ERA, have allowed at least 10 runs three times in the last eight games.
“We just need to get better games from the youngsters. They’ve got to take us deep,” Samuel said. “We’ve been talking about this for the last week or so. The bullpen continues to be overused because we’re not giving ourselves a chance.”
The right-hander has lost his last four starts and is 0-6 with a 7.20 ERA in nine outings since defeating Seattle on May 12.
Bergesen allowed five runs and nine hits with a season high-tying seven strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday after giving up four runs in six innings in a 4-2 loss to Toronto on July 16.
The Blue Jays counter with Brandon Morrow(notes) (6-6, 4.71), who hasn’t pitched since giving up two runs and five hits while striking out eight in seven innings in last Saturday’s 3-2 win in Baltimore. It was his first victory in 10 starts away from Toronto this season.
The right-hander has fared much better at Rogers Centre, going 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA in nine outings with the Blue Jays winning seven times. This will be Morrow’s first start against the Orioles in Toronto.