Blue Jays-Orioles: A Chance for the Jays To Fly Again

Gregory PearsollContributor IMay 1, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 15:  Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles at bat while wearing jersey #42 to commemorate Jackie Robinson day during a game against the Texas Rangers on April 15, 2009 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

After getting roughed up in the Kansas City series, the Jays head back to the Rogers Centre to play the Baltimore Orioles. Here's what to look for in this series.

Advantages for the Jays

1. Run, run, run

Baltimore has given up an AL-worst 24 stolen bases so far this season. Part of this is either due to the releases of the young pitchers, or to the poor throwing arms of Gregg Zaun (16 stolen bases given up) and Chad Moeller (eight stolen bases given up).

Players like Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, Aaron Hill, Marco Scutaro, and Travis Snider should take advantage of Baltimore's catchers and their weak arms.

The sooner Matt Wieters arrives, the better for Orioles fans.

2. Too many homers

In addition, Baltimore gives up too many home runs, having given up a whopping 40 so far this year. This weekend's starters—Mark Hendrickson (seven HRs), Brad Bergesen (three HRs), and Jeremy Guthrie (five HRs)—are very prone to giving up the long ball. With power bats like Wells, Hill, Snider, Adam Lind, Scott Rolen, and Lyle Overbay, the Jays should capitalize.

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3. Play some defense already!

Baltimore is the second worst fielding team in the majors, with 15 errors (the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are worst with 17). With a poor defensive infield and poor throws from the catchers, many balls will end up in the outfield.

4. No power for the O's

Baltimore has struggled to hit, only belting 19 home runs so far this year. An injury to Melvin Mora has created a lack of power in the lineup (Baltimore is slugging only .416; Toronto is third in the American League at .472).

Advantages for the Orioles

1. Purcey's problems

Saturday's starter, David Purcey, has struggled with control and the HR ball, with an ERA of 7.01 and 18 walks—tied for second worst in the league (Edinson Volquez trails with 21 BBs).

Hopefully, Purcey can find his control for this start. Without him, Toronto's team ERA may be the best in the league, up there with Seattle.

2. Too many double plays

The Jays have grounded into a league-worst 29 double plays—five more than the Boston Red Sox. Let's hope we can get the ball into the outfield this series.

3. Put the ball in play

The O's have the fewest strikeouts in the league at 116. However, unless they get on base, that stat won't mean much.


Jays take two of three. Purcey is still a wild card for Saturday, depending which version shows up to the park.


David Purcey sent to Triple-A. Robert Ray, recently in Las Vegas, will start Saturday.

Brett Cecil (will start Tuesday vs. Cleveland) and Brian Wolfe (long relief) also have been called up.

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