Baltimore (85-71) at Toronto (86-70)
When: Tuesday, September 27th 2016
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: MASN, Sportsnet
Tonight’s game between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays could not only be a potential Wild Card preview, but the same pitchers could meet again next week in the winner-take-all contest. The Orioles fell behind the Tigers briefly last week for the second Wild Card spot, but came back strong over the weekend to sweep the Arizona Diamondbacks behind a string of strong pitching performances. Baltimore allowed a total of four runs in the sweep and are now back in the second position, just one game behind Toronto and two ahead of Detroit and Seattle. Baltimore rookie DH Trey Mancini has burst onto the spotlight with three homeruns in his first four major-league games and is 5-for-11. The Blue Jays will come to Baltimore with a little fire under their skin after a couple of bench-clearing brawls last night at home against the Yankees. The Blue Jays were going for the four-game sweep of New York, but Jason Grilli served up a couple of ninth-inning homers and the Yanks stole a 7-5 win. Toronto RF Jose Bautista is 9-for-23 with three homers and eight RBIs in the last six games.
Kevin Gausman is a candidate to start for Baltimore in a potential wild card game and is starting for the first time in a week. His was pushed back over the weekend due to an intercostal strain. Gausman had a streak of five straight victories come to an end against Boston on September 20th when he surrendered five runs and 10 hits over 6.1 innings. Gausman did not fare well at Toronto on July 29th giving up six runs on six hits (3 HRs) and three walks in three innings.
Aaron Sanchez could be Toronto’s wild card starter and is prepared to pitch as much as needed down the stretch despite concerns about his high workload in his 24-year old season. Sanchez is getting an extra day of rest after pitching against Seattle on Wednesday. He threw six innings and allowed just one run but did not factor into the decision. Sanchez is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts against the Orioles this season, with the lone no-decision coming despite seven strong innings at home on July 31st.
Toronto has won five of seven and they would really love to get the Wild Card game at home. Both pitchers have been solid lately and Sanchez doesn’t seem to be tiring out. The Jays hit Gausman pretty good a few months ago and I think they do it again.
Pick: Blue Jays -140