American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, May 28th (All times Eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (29-19) at Toronto Blue Jays (24-24), 7:07 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Tommy Hunter (2-2, 5.07) Toronto - Drew Hutchison (3-2, 5.73)
(Sports Network) - After getting handed their second consecutive series loss on Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles kick off a crucial nine-game road trip this evening with the first of three straight against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Orioles have dropped five of seven since winning five in a row and lost back-to-back home series to the Red Sox and Royals last week. That slump has dropped Baltimore into a tie for first place with the Rays atop the American League East.
Baltimore will visit Tampa Bay following this series before wrapping up the road trip in Boston.
The O's were dealt a 4-2 loss by the Royals on Sunday, the same day that they made outfielder Adam Jones the richest player in club history. Baltimore signed Jones to a six-year deal worth a reported $88.5 million and he doubled in the fifth inning on Sunday to stretch his career-high hitting streak to 18 straight games.
Nick Markakis had an RBI double and Xavier Avery drove in a run with a single, but starter Brian Matusz was touched for four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and three walks over six innings.
"I think it's more our inability to mount much offensively," remarked Orioles manager Buck Showalter about the lack of production. "We didn't do much after the fifth there."
Showalter will start Tommy Hunter this evening and the right-hander is looking to pick up his first victory since April 24 versus the Blue Jays.
Hunter held Toronto to a run on three hits and three walks over six innings of a 2-1 triumph two starts after not factoring into a decision at Toronto on April 13.
The 25-year-old has allowed five homers in his two starts versus the Blue Jays this season, but all five have been solo shots to minimize the damage. Edwin Encarnacion, Yunel Escobar, Kelly Johnson, Colby Rasmus and Eric Thames have all taken him deep and Hunter is 2-3 with a 6.06 earned run average in 10 meetings (8 starts) with the Blue Jays.
Hunter is 0-1 with a 5.34 ERA in five starts since his recent win over the Blue Jays. He faced the Red Sox on Monday and did not factor into an 8-6 loss despite giving up five runs on nine hits over six frames. He is 2-2 with a 5.07 ERA in nine starts this year.
Toronto counters with rookie Drew Hutchison, who faced Baltimore for the first time in his career on April 26 on the road. He did not get a decision in a 5-2 setback, giving up two runs over five innings.
The 21-year-old righty will look to rebound from the worst outing of his brief career tonight after allowing a career-high six earned runs on seven hits over four innings of an 8-5 defeat to the Rays on Tuesday. It was the shortest outing of his career and dropped him to 3-2 with a 5.73 ERA in seven starts.
"I just didn't make good pitches tonight," said Hutchison. "I wasn't executing quality pitches down in the zone. I just didn't give us a chance to win."
Kyle Drabek didn't give his team much of chance either in Sunday's 12-6 loss to the Rangers, a fifth straight setback for Toronto that came one day after a disappointing 13-inning defeat.
Drabek allowed a career-worst nine runs over three innings, while J.P. Arencibia hit two homers.
Toronto could be without its double-play combination for this opener after shortstop Yunel Escobar left Sunday's game early due to tightness in his left groin. He is day-to-day and second baseman Kelly Johnson has already missed two in a row with a sore left hamstring.
The Orioles have won five of six so far this season versus the Blue Jays.
05/28 10:48:41 ET