The Blue Jays go on the road to play the opening contest of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles tonight. Toronto has clinched a playoff spot and would like to continue its winning streak to close out the season and remain at the top of the Wild Card standings, where they lead the Seattle Mariners by 2.5 games.
Baltimore was eliminated from the playoffs after struggling for the last month of the season. They’re now 15.5 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees but have guaranteed they have a winning record for the season after taking two of three from their Bronx rivals over the weekend.
The Blue Jays need just one win to secure the top Wild Card playoff position with three games remaining in the regular season. They have won six of their last eight games and recently completed a sweep of the Boston Red Sox at home, where their pitching was outstanding. They shut out Boston in the first two games and won last night’s game 6-3 to win their third straight.
Vladimir Guerrero leads Toronto with 31 homers and needs just four RBIs in these final games to reach the 100 mark for the season. Lourdes Gurriel is first in batting average for the Blue Jays, hitting .291.
Alek Manoah is the ace of the Blue Jays staff with 16 wins and a 2.24 ERA, and Kevin Gausman is first in strikeouts with 205. Jose Berrios takes the mound tonight and is 11-7 with a 5.37 ERA on the season.
The Orioles had a good second half of the season and surprised many fans by hanging around until the last week before being officially eliminated from playoff contention.
They recently have lost six of their previous nine games and are only four games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, who will secure the final playoff position in the American League.
Cedric Mullins is first on the Orioles in batting average at .261, and Anthony Santander leads them with 33 homers and 88 RBIs.
Jordan Lyles has been the best pitcher for the Orioles all season with 12 wins, a 4.42 ERA, and 144 strikeouts. Dean Kremer will make the start tonight and is 8-6 with a 3.17 ERA for Baltimore.
Toronto is 6-2 in their last eight games against the Orioles, and the total has gone over in four of their previous five games.
The Orioles are 5-10 in their last 15 home games, and the total has gone over in eight of their previous nine games at home against the Blue Jays.
The season series is tied 8-8 coming into tonight’s game, with Toronto winning three of the last four. Berrios has lost his previous two starts, giving up 11 runs in his last 7.1 innings, but hopes to be sharp enough to lead his team to victory tonight and give them home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Godds Pick/Prediction: The Blue Jays win, and the total goes over.