Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET
Venue: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD
Where to watch: SNET, SNET-1, MASN
Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Blue Jays -240, Orioles +195
Season record (entering Thursday)
Blue Jays: 76-62 (4th place, AL East)
Orioles: 45-93 (Last place, AL East)
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Blue Jays - Orioles preview and analysis
Recent form (entering Thursday)
Blue Jays: Won 7 straight
Orioles: 5-5 in last 10
Here come the Blue Jays. Suddenly in the blink of an eye, Toronto has charged to only trailing by 1.5 games for a playoff spot.
Of course that’s come at the expense of the New York Yankees, who as of Thursday, are looking to sweep the Yankees and pull within a half-game of that second wild-card spot in the American League.
As of Thursday, the Blue Jays are on a seven-game winning streak and could extend that more with the beginning of a four-game series against the Orioles starting on Friday. The two will play a doubleheader Saturday, capped with a Sunday matinee.
The Blue Jays weren’t playoff contenders in August, but this run of seven straight wins that included a sweep in a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre, topped with how they’ve dominated in Yankee Stadium, has set up a pristine opportunity for Toronto against its American League East foes in Baltimore.
Toronto got George Springer back into the lineup, and now he’s day-to-day with a sprained knee. At the end of the day, the Blue Jays can only catch the Boston Red Sox for a potential home playoff game if Springer is in the fold and will be a huge boost if he stays healthy. The world needs the Blue Jays to play the Tampa Bay Rays in the division series.
We’re not sure what the Orioles’ plan of attack is with no postseason in their future. They know there are plenty of problems and patience may not be a virtue at this rate, and that it should be easier for Robbie Ray to mow down the Baltimore order. The lefty is 11-5 with a 2.60 ERA and a staggering WHIP of 0.99.
The Orioles, however, are reeling with confidence after winning four of their last five entering Thursday, including a series win over the Yankees this past weekend and winning two of the four-game series this week against the Kansas City Royals at home.
With the way Toronto is playing right now, it’s going to put the Orioles in a tough position with the Blue Jays being one of the strong lineups they’ll see to close the season.
We like Ray to keep this momentum going and get another win for the red-hot Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays are 21-8 (+5.8 net games on the moneyline) when a favorite of -175 to -250.
Baltimore is 9-31 when an underdog between +175 to +250.
Blue Jays: OF George Springer (knee, day-to-day)
Players to watch
Blue Jays: The Vladdy Jr. MVP campaign keeps getting better. In the past 19 games, Guerrero is batting .364 with six home runs and 11 RBI. Over a 162-game span, that’s 51 homers and 94 RBI. He’s going to shatter the RBI part, but are we shocked if he reaches 51 dingers?
Orioles: Cedric Mullins also has found the power touch over the last 16 games, hitting six to go with 12 RBI. The batting average has been a tad low (.274) but the world needs to do whatever it takes to keep that average above .300 to give Orioles fans something to cheer for.
Bo Bichette (R) SS
Marcus Semien (R) 2B
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
Teoscar Hernandez (R) RF
Alejandro Kirk (R) DH
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R) LF
Randal Grichuk (R) CF
Danny Jansen (R) C
Kevin Smith (R) 3B
Cedric Mullins (L) CF
Ryan Mountcastle (R) 1B
Anthony Santander (S) RF
Trey Mancini (R) DH
DJ Stewart (L) LF
Pedro Severino (R) C
Jorge Mateo (R) SS
Jahmai Jones (R) 2B
Kelvin Gutierrez (R) 3B
Probable starting pitcher: Robbie Ray (TOR) vs. Chris Ellis (BAL)
Batting average: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (.320)
Hits: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (164)
Home runs: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (41)
RBI: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (99)
Stolen bases: Bo Bichette (21)
Wins: Hyun Jin Ryu (13)
Saves: Jordan Romano (16)
ERA: Robbie Ray (2.60)
Batting average: Cedric Mullins (.305)
Hits: Cedric Mullins (159)
Home runs: Cedric Mullins (27)
RBI: Ryan Mountcastle (77)
Stolen bases: Cedric Mullins (26)
Wins: Matt Harvey (6)
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