The Baltimore Orioles have had one of the more difficult schedules in the major leagues this season, and there won’t be any relief Monday night when they visit the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays, who are returning from a 4-2 road trip for the opener of a four-game series with the Orioles, have won 13 of their past 17 games.
The series is the first between the American League East rivals this season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Orioles had the second-toughest strength of schedule in the majors for their first 60 games based on their opponents’ winning percentage. Their opponents had a combined .535 winning percentage, second to the Philadelphia Phillies (.536).
The Orioles salvaged a split of a four-game series with the host Kansas City Royals Sunday with a 10-7 victory as Cedric Mullins had four hits.
The Blue Jays won the rubber match of a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers 6-0 on Sunday.
Right-hander Kyle Bradish (1-3, 6.45 ERA) will start for the Orioles against Blue Jays right-hander Alek Manoah (7-1, 1.81).
It will be the first career start for Bradish against Toronto. Baltimore has won each of his past three starts.
Manoah has faced Baltimore three times and is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA.
The Orioles announced Sunday that outfielder Kyle Stowers — their eighth-ranked prospect — will join the team’s taxi squad in Toronto with a good chance of making his major-league debut against the Blue Jays.
“He’s having a good year in Triple-A,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s a loose left-handed swing, he’s got huge power, I like the way he plays defense. He’s got a chance to hit. Still a really young player (24), like a lot of our guys, but big upside.”
It is expected that the Orioles will put some players on the restricted list for the series in Toronto because they do not meet Canadian COVID-19 vaccine requirements.
Catcher Anthony Bemboom and right-handers Rico Garcia and Mike Baumann also will be added to the taxi squad.
“Could be more,” Hyde said before the game on Sunday. “We’ll see how the game plays out today and see where we are physically and take a few extra guys to Toronto.”
If Stowers makes his MLB debut in Toronto, he wouldjoin catcher Adley Rutschman and Bradish as top 10 prospects to play for the Orioles this season. Hyde says the addition of Stowers is beneficial even if he does not play.
“You don’t know what it’s like here until you get here,” Hyde said. “To see it up close, to see what a big league clubhouse feels like, it’s just a lot different when you get here. It’s just a nice way to see, for any young player, what this actually looks like, feels like, before they get on the field.”
The Blue Jays played their final two games of the series in Detroit with third baseman Matt Chapman (wrist) out of the lineup. The wrist injury is considered minor, and Chapman has indicated that he could return to the lineup within a few days.
“We’ll see how he feels (Monday),” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said.
Santiago Espinal moved from second base to play third base in Chapman’s absence and made some good plays. Cavan Biggio played second.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Espinal, who played 81 games at third base last season. “I like playing anywhere out there.”
–Field Level Media