Orioles-Blue Jays series matches AL East's weakest teams
TORONTO -- The good thing for the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series that opens Monday at Rogers Centre is that one team will win each night.
Neither team has been familiar with winning during the past couple of seasons after the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles in the 2016 American League wild-card game in Toronto.
They have been the two worst teams in the AL East since then and, fittingly, each enters the series after lopsided losses.
The Orioles were blanked 8-0 by the Cleveland Indians on Sunday and the Blue Jays were trounced 10-2 by the New York Yankees to complete a 2-5 road trip.
J.A. Happ, who was traded to the Yankees by Toronto last month, was the winning pitcher Sunday.
Baltimore (37-87) will start right-hander Andrew Cashner (4-10, 4.71 ERA) and Toronto (55-69) will start right-hander Marco Estrada (6-9, 4.87).
The Blue Jays have lost four in a row after the Yankees swept them in a three-game series and are 3-7 in their past 10 games. The Orioles won one of their three games with the Indians and are 2-8 in their past 10.
The frustration boiled over for Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Sunday, when he berated center fielder Kevin Pillar for making the final out of the top of the sixth inning after he was caught trying to steal with his team trailing four runs and needing base runners.
In the bottom of the sixth, Gibbons was ejected for arguing with the umpires.
"I think (Pillar) thought we had the lead 6-2 there, I guess. I don't know," Gibbons said. "One of us was wrong. That play is unacceptable in rookie ball. That play is unacceptable in high school ball. It shouldn't happen. It can't happen. He knows it.
"It's tough to criticize Kevin because the way he plays the game. He does everything right. He sacrifices his body, but every now and then we lock up mentally, I guess."
Gibbons did allow Pillar to stay in the game instead of benching him.
"You live and learn," Pillar said. "I've made the mistake before. I'm out there trying to make something happen. Sometimes, you just have to allow things to happen.
"It's just kind of the way it was going. It was raining. It was wet out there -- a young catcher behind the plate. I was trying to do something that probably ever rarely happens, get him to throw the ball away, try to score a cheap run, try to get us back in the game. But I just have to trust the guys behind me to drive me in which they've been doing a good job of. ...
"Obviously, that kind of turned momentum back to their side, led to a four-run inning, and the rest is kind of history."
The Blue Jays made several moves Sunday. Right-hander Marcus Stroman (right middle finger blister) went on the 10-day disabled list and left-hander Thomas Pannone was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo. Pannone could start Wednesday against Baltimore, although he pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday.
Toronto also purchased the contract of right-hander Justin Shafer from Triple-A Buffalo and he pitched one scoreless inning in his big-league debut Sunday. Right-hander Luis Santos was optioned to Buffalo and right-hander Aaron Sanchez (right index finger contusion) was moved to the 60-day DL retroactive to June 22.
The Orioles expect to have center fielder Adam Jones back in the lineup Monday. He went on the bereavement list Friday to attend a family funeral.
"I talked to him (Saturday)," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "His mom's doing OK. It's been a tough couple of days for him, so he's flying to Toronto (Sunday night)."
Outfielder Craig Gentry was activated from the disabled list to replace Jones on the roster and outfielder Joey Rickard was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
There's also a chance that outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo could go on the disabled list.
He left the game Sunday for a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and will return to Baltimore to have his right knee examined. He has been dealing with inflammation intermittently all season and had an injection last Monday.
"His knee flared up on him, barking pretty good," Showalter said. "I think he's probably heading to the DL. We talked about it last time, but he had some good results from the treatment and the shot, but this last day or so, it's kind of flared up on him again. He'll go back and take a look at it."
Cashner will be making his fourth start of the season against the Blue Jays. He is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA against them. In five career starts against Toronto, he is 1-1 with a 2.27 ERA.
Estrada is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two starts against the Orioles this season and 8-2 with a 3.46 ERA in 17 career games (15 starts) against them.
Updated August 19, 2018