Orioles on deck: What to watch Tuesday at Blue Jays

Orioles (85-71) vs. Blue Jays (86-70)

Where: Rogers Centre


First pitch: 7:07 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (8-11, 3.57 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RHP Aaron Sanchez (13-2, 3.12 ERA)

What to watch

1. Wild stretch: The Orioles won three games they absolutely needed against the Arizona Diamondbacks this past weekend to put themselves back in control of whether they'll be in the wild-card game. The Orioles have been eliminated from the American League East race, and they can end the Blue Jays' chances with a win in Toronto (or a Boston Red Sox win, which would secure them a division crown). It's all about the wild card now, and the Orioles are one game behind the Blue Jays for home-field advantage in the one-game playoff. The Orioles have a little padding for the second wild card now, leading the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners by two games each with six games to go. The Orioles' magic number to clinch a playoff spot going into the series is five.

2. Right man on the mound: The Orioles have Kevin Gausman starting opposite Aaron Sanchez with an opportunity to set the right tone for the series north of the border. Gausman allowed five runs in 6 1/3 innings his last time out, but was close to another impressive line before David Ortiz hit a three-run homer in the seventh. Gausman still has a 2.94 ERA since the All-Star break. Sanchez has only two losses on the year, and only one since April 29. He has dipped in performance off and on lately, however, with a 4.54 ERA over his past seven starts, to see his ERA jump from 2.71 to 3.12.

3. Power chase: Yes, the Orioles would like to have a multifaceted offense hitting with runners in scoring position and going station to station on the base paths. But they're built on home runs, as evidenced by the major league-leading 245, and it's always fun to follow where they stand in their chase for the single-season record. The Orioles would need to put up incredible home run numbers the rest of the way to catch the 1997 Mariners, who hit 264. They need 19 in six games to tie the record, which won't likely happen. But they are on pace for 254, one of the highest totals ever.

Orioles lineup

CF Adam Jones
1B Chris Davis
3B Manny Machado
RF Mark Trumbo
DH Pedro Alvarez
2B Jonathan Schoop
C Matt Wieters
LF Michael Bourn
SS J.J. Hardy