Orioles on deck: What to watch Thursday at Blue Jays

Josh Land
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun

Orioles (38-39) vs. Blue Jays (37-40)

Where: Rogers Centre

First pitch: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 FM

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-3, 7.26 ERA) vs. Blue Jays LHP J.A. Happ (2-4, 3.83 ERA)

What to watch

1. Take the series. The Orioles have a chance to leave Toronto with their first set of consecutive series wins since sweeping the Chicago White Sox and Washington Nationals back-to-back in early May. The Orioles are a game ahead of the last-place Blue Jays and 4 1/2 out of first.

2. Mound of questions. Whether good or bad Ubaldo Jimenez shows up might be the biggest key to the Orioles getting out of town with a win. Jimenez was terrible his last time out, allowing nine runs in 2 1/3 innings. He pitched seven strong innings his prior start, in his return to the rotation. Oddly, three of the Blue Jays' best hitters -- Jose Bautista, Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki -- are a combined 6-for-70 (.086) in their carrers against Jimenez.

3. Bat to work. In 13 games before being shut out Wednesday, the Orioles offense averaged 5.5 runs per game with an .812 OPS. Especially if Jimenez has another poor outing, they'll need to get back to that against J.A. Happ. The Blue Jays lefty is 0-2 against the Orioles this season despite a 3.18 ERA in those two starts.

Orioles lineup

LF Joey Rickard
3B Manny Machado
2B Jonathan Schoop
CF Adam Jones
DH Mark Trumbo
1B Trey Mancini
C Welington Castillo
RF Craig Gentry
SS Ruben Tejada

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