The new baseball season is just two weeks old and the American League East rivalry between the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays has heated up to the point where there's no telling what's going to happen Wednesday in the second game of the three-game series at Rogers Centre.
Slugger Jose Bautista, who recharged a personal rivalry with Orioles reliever Darren O'Day in the final game of the first series between these two clubs at Oriole Park 10 days ago, took forever to leave the plate after hitting a long home run off Orioles rookie Jason Garcia in the seventh inning on Tuesday night.
Garcia threw behind Bautista earlier in the at-bat and had already hit Ryan Goins with a pitch the inning before, so no one should have been surprised to see the Jays outfielder stare at his homer until it landed and then flip the bat away before circling the bases.
Even Orioles manager Buck Showalter acknowledged during his MASN postgame interview that the pitch behind Bautista -- especially after so many Jays had teed off on Orioles pitching -- didn't look good, but insisted that the Orioles were not headhunting with their bullpen stretched so thin.
Bautista's behavior again got under the skin of the Orioles, and particularly Adam Jones, who barked and gestured at Bautista from center field. Bautista also got an earful from Ryan Flaherty as he rounded second base. Flaherty said in a postgame interview that it was "just sad."
There are a lot more games to be played between the Orioles and Jays over the course of this season, and you have to wonder what might happen with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound Wednesday night.
Lest anyone forget, Jimenez was thrown out of his last start for hitting Pablo Sandoval with a pitch that everyone but umpire Jordan Baker had to know what unintentional. Now, the umpires in Toronto are going to be on high alert during Wednesday night's game and the Orioles cannot afford another short start.
Trouble is, Jimenez isn't exactly known for his pinpoint control and he has to be able to go inside against a hitter like Bautista. If he lets another fastball get away, there are likely to be some fireworks.