Baltimore Orioles (29-19) at Toronto Blue Jays (24-24), 7:07 p.m. (ET)
(Sports Network) – After getting handed their second consecutive series loss
on Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles kick off a crucial nine-game road trip this
evening with the first of three straight against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Orioles have dropped five of seven since winning five in a row and lost
back-to-back home series to the Red Sox and Royals last week. That slump has
dropped Baltimore into a tie for first place with the Rays atop the American
Baltimore will visit Tampa Bay following this series before wrapping up the
road trip in Boston.
The O’s were dealt a 4-2 loss by the Royals on Sunday, the same day that they
made outfielder Adam Jones the richest player in club history. Baltimore
signed Jones to a six-year deal worth a reported $88.5 million and he doubled
in the fifth inning on Sunday to stretch his career-high hitting streak to 18
Nick Markakis had an RBI double and Xavier Avery drove in a run with a single,
but starter Brian Matusz was touched for four runs — three earned — on seven
hits and three walks over six innings.
“I think it’s more our inability to mount much offensively,” remarked Orioles
manager Buck Showalter about the lack of production. “We didn’t do much after
the fifth there.”
Showalter will start Tommy Hunter this evening and the right-hander is looking
to pick up his first victory since April 24 versus the Blue Jays.
Hunter held Toronto to a run on three hits and three walks over six innings of
a 2-1 triumph two starts after not factoring into a decision at Toronto on
The 25-year-old has allowed five homers in his two starts versus the Blue Jays
this season, but all five have been solo shots to minimize the damage. Edwin
Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus and Eric Thames have
all taken him deep and Hunter is 2-3 with a 6.06 earned run average in 10
meetings (8 starts) with the Blue Jays.
Hunter is 0-1 with a 5.34 ERA in five starts since his recent win over the
Blue Jays. He faced the Red Sox on Monday and did not factor into an 8-6 loss
despite giving up five runs on nine hits over six frames. He is 2-2 with a
5.07 ERA in nine starts this year.
Toronto counters with rookie Drew Hutchison, who faced Baltimore for the first
time in his career on April 26 on the road. He did not get a decision in a 5-2
setback, giving up two runs over five innings.
The 21-year-old righty will look to rebound from the worst outing of his brief
career tonight after allowing a career-high six earned runs on seven hits over
four innings of an 8-5 defeat to the Rays on Tuesday. It was the shortest
outing of his career and dropped him to 3-2 with a 5.73 ERA in seven starts.
“I just didn’t make good pitches tonight,” said Hutchison. “I wasn’t executing
quality pitches down in the zone. I just didn’t give us a chance to win.”
Kyle Drabek didn’t give his team much of chance either in Sunday’s 12-6 loss
to the Rangers, a fifth straight setback for Toronto that came one day after a
disappointing 13-inning defeat.
Drabek allowed a career-worst nine runs over three innings, while J.P.
Arencibia hit two homers.
Toronto could be without its double-play combination for this opener after
shortstop Yunel Escobar left Sunday’s game early due to tightness in his left
groin. He is day-to-day and second baseman Kelly Johnson has already missed
two in a row with a sore left hamstring.
The Orioles have won five of six so far this season versus the Blue Jays.
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