|FreePlays.com Home » Preview: Baltimore at Toronto, September 12th, 2017|
TORONTO -- The task is simple for the Baltimore Orioles. They must start winning now or they can forget about having a chance to play in the postseason.
They lost a fifth game in a row Monday, and fell for the sixth time in their past seven, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Toronto Blue Jays in the opener of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre.
The Orioles (71-73) are 3 1/2 games out of the second American League wild-card position.
"At the end of the day, we just have to win," said center fielder Adam Jones, who made one of the Orioles' two outfield errors Monday. "But it's Sept. 11. It's win time, so all that cliche (junk) can go out the window at this point. So, we just need to win, point blank, simple, clear cut."
The Orioles would appear to have the advantage in the pitching matchup Tuesday. They will start right-hander Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.12 ERA), who is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in two starts against the Blue Jays this season. He is 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA in six career games (two starts) against Toronto.
The Blue Jays (67-77) will start Joe Biagini (3-10, 5.29 ERA). He will be looking for his first major league win since July 26, when he came out on top in a relief outing against the Oakland A's.
In six games since, three of them starts, he is 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA, with a stint in Triple-A Buffalo to get some starts during that span.
Biagini's past three outings were starts. He struck out 10 in seven scoreless inning Sept. 1 against the Orioles at Camden Yards but did not factor in the decision. He is 0-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 14 career games (two starts) against Baltimore.
Things are not going the Orioles' way. Toronto scored a run in the sixth inning Monday against Miguel Castro without a ball leaving the infield. Mark Trumbo lost a ball in the twilight in the second inning that dropped for a double, and the Orioles made an error on the same play that put the runner at third.
"You play the game hard, man, things happen," Jones said. "We just have to get back to the simple fundamentals. A tough ball to right in the dusk, a ball that slipped out of my hand in right-center. These, they're not mental mistakes, they're physical mistakes."
Losing pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez added, "That's the way everything is going against us right now. We're in a bad streak. Hopefully, we'll get it going tomorrow and get out of it."
"We had two or three swinging bunts and a ball in the twilight that nobody could see," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "You can't control that, it's frustrating."
The Orioles also lost catcher Welington Castillo, who left with a contusion after being hit with a foul ball in the groin area in the bottom of the first. He finished the inning before being removed from the game and taken to a hospital for tests.
"He had the same issue before so, (trainer) Richie (Bancells) and everybody wanted to be real cautious with it," Showalter said.
The Orioles will have outfielder Craig Gentry (broken right finger) available Tuesday for pinch-running duty when he is activated from the disabled list.
The Blue Jays had third baseman Josh Donaldson (illness) back in the lineup Monday as the designated hitter after he missed the three-game weekend series against the Detroit Tigers. They could have left fielder Steve Pearce (stiff lower back) and catcher Russell Martin (strained left oblique) back before the end of the series.
Martin has been on the disabled list since Aug. 12. Pearce got hurt Friday.
"Russ went out there and hit earlier, down in the cage," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "There's a chance he could be back in the next couple of days. ... He's feeling much better, that's for sure. ...
"Hitting is really the big thing because of all that rotating you do. But he has done that a couple of times now and has felt great, so it looks like he's passed it. "
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista and first baseman Justin Smoak did not start Monday because of their lack of success in the past against Jimenez, but they should be in the lineup Tuesday. Smoak entered the game Monday as a defensive replacement.
Toronto closer Roberto Osuna will not be available for the series. He returned to Mexico for the birth of his child.