Orioles on deck: What to watch Friday vs. Blue Jays, plus series matchups

Josh Land
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Orioles (23-16) vs. Blue Jays (18-24)

Where: Camden Yards

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (1-0, 2.89 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 2.95 ERA)

Series matchup

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.72, 14th); Blue Jays (4.17, 23rd)

Average: Orioles (.258, 11th); Blue Jays (.238, 24th)

Home runs: Orioles (55, t-eighth); Blue Jays (50, 13th)

OPS: Orioles (.742, 14th); Blue Jays (.700, 24th)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (4.30, 19th); Blue Jays (4.22, 18th)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (4.54, 21st); Blue Jays (4.33, 14th)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (3.95, 13th); Blue Jays (4.06, 17th)

Fielding (MLB rank)

Fielding percentage: Orioles (.987, fifth); Blue Jays (.983, 16th)

Errors: Orioles (19, t-third fewest); Blue Jays (27, t-13th most)

UZR/150: Orioles (-3.4, 19th); Blue Jays (-2.4, 17th)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (5, seventh); Blue Jays (-17, 28th)

What to watch

1. Tillman time. In his first two starts back from the disabled list, Chris Tillman has allowed three runs on 11 hits with eight strikeouts and five walks in 9 1/3 innings. He kept runners from crossing the plate well enough in his first start, but walks, base runners and the resulting pitch count has forced him to last no more than five innings so far. The Orioles need better from their ace, but will be patient since he hadn't faced major league hitters until his first start this season (after missing all of Grapefruit League play).

2. Offense rising. The Orioles averaged 3.9 runs and 7.7 hits per game in their first 19 games of the season, and somehow they were 13-6. Over the past 20 games, they have averaged 5.5 runs and 10.7 runs per game, but are 10-10 since the pitching has fallen off. The Orioles have been held to fewer than four runs just twice in their past 13 games.

3. Hoping for health. Manny Machado had to sit out Thursday because of a sore finger. Buck Showalter said Jonathan Schoop and J.J. Hardy also could've potentially used a day off to rest injuries, and then Seth Smith had a ball bounce off his face during Thursday's game. Smith is not starting Friday, and the Orioles have to hope their guys are healthy with a chance to gain some serious distance from the Blue Jays in the standings this weekend.

Orioles lineup

2B Jonathan Schoop
CF Adam Jones
3B Manny Machado
1B Chris Davis
RF Mark Trumbo
C Welington Castillo
DH Trey Mancini
LF Hyun Soo Kim
SS J.J. Hardy

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