Blue Jays bopping along against Orioles
BALTIMORE — The Toronto Blue Jays have shown plenty of power in the first part of 2018. They will try to show more of it in the second game of their series with the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night at Camden Yards.
Toronto banged out 17 homers in the first 11 games this season, a big reason the Blue Jays have a 7-4 record so far.
The Blue Jays won the first game of the series on Monday night. They scored five runs in the ninth inning, four on a Josh Donaldson grand slam that locked up a 7-1 victory over the Orioles.
Toronto has been displaying its power in the early part of the season. The Blue Jays hit two homers in Monday’s win and have banged out 10 in their first 11 games this season.
“We’ve been swinging better and really that’s more like our team,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said in the Toronto Sun on Monday. “In this division and really in all of the American League, you’ve got to slug it out.”
The Blue Jays were second in the majors in home runs heading into the series against the Orioles, and the ball flies out of Camden Yards often and with ease.
Andrew Cashner (1-1, 4.09 ERA) will start for the Orioles (4-7) on Tuesday. The newly acquired right-hander has given up four homers in 11 innings already this year.
Cashner is coming off a solid six-inning performance against the New York Yankees on April 5 when he allowed just one run, which came on a homer.
Cashner will be facing Aaron Sanchez (0-1, 5.40), who is hoping to have a season with fewer injury issues than 2017. He was on the disabled list four times and pitched in just eight games and ended up with a 1-3 record.
Kendrys Morales came out of Monday’s game with a strained left hamstring and is going to be checked by the Toronto medical staff again Tuesday.
The Orioles (4-7) have done well with power at times but have struggled on occasion with runners in scoring position. That trouble continued in Monday’s loss.
Baltimore went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, wasting some chances.
Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph said the team reminds him of the 2014 squad that reached the American League Championship Series. He likes their spirit in the early days of this season.
“You never know (which game) is going to be (the) game … that kind of costs you at the end,” Joseph said Monday. “They’re all important. You can feel the cohesiveness of this club really pulling together.”
The Orioles’ biggest problem so far is that their bullpen has been taxed because of some problems with starting pitching. That’s the reason the team made several moves to rotate relief pitchers in recent days.
In fact, the Orioles made an interesting move on Monday by recalling right-hander Hunter Harvey to help out in their taxed bullpen.
Harvey was a first-round pick in 2013, but he has battled a number of injury issues, including Tommy John surgery, and never pitched above Class A. Baltimore brought him up from Double-A Bowie in the Eastern League and optioned left-hander Tanner Scott to Triple-A Norfolk.
Scott pitched in Sunday’s extra-inning win over the Yankees, but Harvey did not get into Monday’s loss to the Blue Jays.