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Preview: Orioles (65-69) at Blue Jays (76-58)
Venue: Rogers Centre
Date: September 05, 2015 1:07 PM EDT
Chris Davis is looking like his 2013 self, but if the power surge is to continue, it’ll have to come against an ace he’s seen plenty of without yet showing off his home run trot.
The Baltimore Orioles face David Price on Saturday, and the Toronto Blue Jays are in danger of losing consecutive games for just the second time since they acquired the former Cy Young winner.
Davis homered twice for the second straight game in Friday’s 10-2 win in Toronto, giving him five in three contests and making him the first Baltimore player with 40 in multiple seasons.
The Orioles (65-69) have won consecutive games following a crippling 1-12 span, and it was also their third straight over the Blue Jays.
“(Toronto) is playing well, they’re obviously at the top of the division, making a run for it,” Davis said. “It was big for us to come in here and have the kind of game that we had.”
The Blue Jays (76-58), now one-half game up on New York, didn’t homer for the third time in four games and fell to 7-29 when failing to do so for the third-worst winning percentage in baseball behind Cincinnati (8-41) and Baltimore (7-33). Edwin Encarnacion went hitless for a third straight contest after his 26-game hitting streak.
Toronto is 26-7 dating to July 29, and it dealt for Price (13-5, 2.47 ERA) the next day.
The left-hander, who had his start moved up a day to rest Mark Buehrle, will be trying to bounce back from his first loss with Toronto, though it was hardly a poor outing. He gave up three runs and six hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings of Monday’s 4-2 home defeat to Cleveland, falling to 4-1 with a 2.28 ERA in six starts since joining the Blue Jays.
Baltimore has done a better job of chasing him from games sooner. Price allowed a run and six hits with 12 strikeouts in a 3-0 loss in Detroit on July 18, but that was the only time in his last six starts against the Orioles he made it beyond six innings. He’s 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA in that span.
“They’ve got a powerful lineup over there,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “If you don’t pitch well, they can pound you.”
Matt Wieters is 15 for 44 with a home run and six doubles off Price, and Steve Pearce (5 for 15 with a home run), Manny Machado (5 for 18 with a homer) and Adam Jones (13 for 47) have all at least been respectable against him. Davis is 5 for 18, but Price is one of three of the 23 pitchers he has at least 18 at-bats against without homering.
The Orioles will probably end up leaning heavily on the bullpen with Mike Wright (2-3, 4.99) facing a pitch-count limit after making a rehab start Tuesday. Wright was activated Friday after being on the disabled list since a July 31 relief appearance with a strained calf. He’s filling in for Miguel Gonzalez, who landed on the DL with shoulder tendinitis.
Manager Buck Showalter said Wright will be limited to around 60 pitches. The rookie lost his last three starts with a 12.19 ERA back in June, but his season with Triple-A Norfolk has been dominant with a 9-1 record and 2.22 ERA in 15 games.
His last start came in a 5-4 loss in Toronto on June 19 after giving up four runs and three hits with four walks in 1 1-3 innings.