Orioles Try to Hold On As Blue Jays Fly By into First Place

By David A.

The top two teams in the American League East will play north of the border on Sunday when the Baltimore Orioles visit the Toronto Blue Jays. The current line has Toronto favored at -165, Baltimore at +155 and the over/under run total sitting on 8.5.

Entering this game, Baltimore has a record of 58-45 overall and 21-29 on the road. The Orioles are 5-5 over their past 10 games played. Toronto entering this game is 59-45 overall and 32-23 at home. The Blue Jays are 7-3 in their past 10 games played.

Baltimore will send Chris Tillman to the mound on Sunday. The Orioles right-hander is 14-3 with an ERA of 3.47. Toronto will counter with Aaron Sanchez. The Blue Jays right-hander is 11-1 with an ERA of 2.72.

Tillman has struggled against Toronto in the past, especially on the road where his record is 2-6 with an ERA of 7.94 in 11 appearances at Rogers Center.

Sanchez is on fire. The Blue Jays hurler has won 10 straight decisions including two against the Orioles. In his last start, Sanchez struck out 7 and walked 2 in seven shutout innings to beat San Diego 4-2.

Toronto has leapfrogged Baltimore into first place in the AL East thanks to winning two straight at home over the Orioles and look for a sweep with a win on Sunday. Saturday’s 9-1 in gave the Blue Jays a half-game lead over the Orioles and their fifth win in their past six games.

The Orioles have now lost five straight. On July 1, the Orioles led the Blue Jays by 5 ½ games but Toronto has won 16 of its past 22 games. The Orioles were in first place 99 of 119 days of this season, but have given up 45 runs over their past 6 games versus the Blue Jays.

Edwin Encarnacion the DH for the Blue Jays has 4 hits in 8 at bats in the first two games of the series including two doubles and one home run. He leads baseball in RBIs with 89.

Baltimore is 21-29 away from home, and has lost seven of its past eight on the road.

Kevin Pillar knocked in four runs Saturday and has 8 hits in his past 19 at bats over his past 5 games for Toronto.

Prediction: The Blue Jays are soaring, while the Orioles are flying low. Lean toward the Blue Jays in this one.