Buck Showalter’s club hopes to snap an 11-game losing streak at Rogers Centre on Friday night, as Toronto’s Jose Bautista(notes) will be looking to celebrate a 50-home run season by adding to his total.
Baltimore (61-91) lost its first 12 games against the Blue Jays this season — six in Toronto—but those defeats came before Showalter’s arrival Aug. 3.
The Orioles have gone 29-18 under their new manager, including a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays from Sept. 13-15. Despite Wednesday’s 6-1 loss at Boston, they’re also 13-8 on the road with Showalter after going 14-40.
Their struggles in Toronto, however, go back even further. Baltimore has dropped 20 of its last 22 there, including 11 straight since a 7-5 win Aug. 7, 2009.
The Blue Jays (77-75) have been especially tough at home this season, hitting 133 of their major league-high 234 homers while going 40-32 at Rogers Centre.
Bautista’s 50th homer provided the only offense in a 1-0 win over Seattle on Thursday. Bautista is the 26th player in baseball history to hit 50 homers in a season - and perhaps the most unlikely considering his previous career high was 16.
“It’s really a big honor to be put in that elite group of hitters,” Bautista said. “To tell you the truth, I really haven’t let it sink in yet, I haven’t thought about it too much. Once I do that, then I’ll probably have more feelings to describe. Right now I’m really honored and happy.”
Bautista, who started his big league career with the Orioles in 2004, has 31 homers at home and seven in 15 games against Baltimore this year.
Tillman (1-4, 6.42 ERA) has walked six in each of his last two outings. Although the Orioles came back to beat the Yankees 4-3 in 11 innings Sunday, Showalter wasn’t pleased after Tillman allowed three runs in 3 2-3 innings.
“That’s not going to work,” Showalter told the Orioles’ official website. “He was fortunate in Detroit (on Sept. 12) and he was fortunate (Sunday) not to give up more.”
The left-hander, however, has allowed 12 runs in eight innings over his last two outings, although he beat the Red Sox 11-9 last Friday.