Aug. 3 MLB Preview — Toronto Blue Jays (45-67) at Baltimore Orioles (36-73)

(Freddy Galvis photo courtesy Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)

When and Where: Saturday, Aug. 3, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md., 7:05 p.m. EDT.

A potentially intriguing or disastrous matchup, depending on perspective, could be in the cards Saturday night when Dylan Bundy and the Baltimore Oroles continue their series with the offensively resurgent Toronto Blue Jays.

Pannone to start as Jays continue rotation shuffle post-deadline

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo has been scrambling to fill starting pitching slots in this series after both Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez were dealt in addition to Ryan Borucki being put on the injured list.

Montoyo opted to use reliever Wilmer Font as an opener in Friday’s contest, but things appear to be settling into order with Thomas Pannone (2-4, 5.98 ERA) continuing his audition for a full-time spot in the rotation.

The left-hander turned in his best performance of his four starts this year Monday at Kansas City, giving up three runs and six hits and leaving without a decision before Toronto pushed across four runs late in a 7-3 victory. Pannone threw 58 of his season-high 93 pitches for strikes as the 25-year-old tries to be part of the Blue Jays youth movement that now includes Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Cavan Biggio — all 24 and younger — to set a foundation for the future.

“Having played behind him made it a lot easier,” Bichette told Toronto’s official website following Pannone’s performance. “Knowing what hitters’ tendencies are against him. Definitely knowing that he has confidence in me, too, knowing that he knows that I can make plays and be a good defender. That just gave me the extra confidence I needed, playing behind him. Him on the mound, Vladdy at third, Cavan at second, it all played in my favor.”

Pannone has made two relief appearances against Baltimore this year, tossing five shutout innings. He split two starts versus the Orioles last year, holding them to one hit in seven innings of a 6-0 victory at home Aug. 22, and then getting rocked for seven runs in 3 1-3 innings of a 12-5 loss at Camden Yards six days later.

Bundy still trying to shake long-ball woes

Though Bundy’s home runs-per-nine innings ratio has dipped to 2.01 on the season — barely below his 2.05 mark from 2018 — the right-hander still has plenty of issues keeping the ball inside hitter-friendly Camden Yards.

Bundy (5-11, 5.24) has served up 13 homers there in just 49 2-3 innings for a 2.36 mark per nine innings and has allowed 64 homers overall since the start of last season. Only two pitchers have yielded more than 55 in that span — Justin Verlander and Jakob Junis each have seen 56 offerings leave the yard — but Verlander has thrown 91 more innings and Junis 34 2-3 more than Bundy’s 274 2-3 innings.

The two homers Bundy gave up Sunday to the Los Angeles Angels accounted for all four runs yielded in five-plus innings. The second one — a game-tying two-run shot by Albert Pujols for the 650th of his storied career — cost Bundy a shot at a victory, and Baltimore would eventually lose 5-4 in walkoff fashion.

Bundy had one of his best starts of the season versus the Blue Jays last month in Toronto, allowing a solo homer to Brandon Drury and two other hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 4-1 victory. The righty is 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA in eight career starts versus his AL East rivals, giving up eight home runs in 48 2-3 innings.

Randal Grichuk and Justin Smoak are the other active players on the Blue Jays roster who have taken Bundy deep, and Smoak is 5 for 20 with a pair of doubles to go with his homer.

Notable Trends

The Orioles are:

  • 23-59 in their last 82 during game 3 of a series.
  • 15-41 in their last 56 Saturday games.
  • 16-41 in their last 57 home games.

The Blue Jays are:

  • 5-1 in their last six Saturday games.
  • 6-2 in their last eight road games vs. the Orioles.
  • 6-0 in their last six road games vs. right-handed starters.

*****5-Star Pick*****

Blue Jays OVER 5 runs (-115)

A pick simply riding the wave of Toronto’s offensive surge. The Blue Jays have scored five or more runs in six of their last seven games, averaging 7.86 runs in that stretch with 21 homers and a .292 batting average.

The Jays have also scored five or more runs in their last four games at Camden Yards and in seven of the 11 games in the season series. The Orioles have yielded five or more in six consecutive contests and eight of nine overall.

****4-Star Pick****

OVER 10 runs (-115)

This pick is more about what Pannone contributes to get over the number in this case on top of Bundy’s struggles at home since the over is 4-1 in his last five road starts. Despite all the homers, the under is 11-8-1 when the Orioles righty takes the mound, and he did have that win against the Blue Jays last month.

The over is 3-1 in Pannone’s four starts but was also trending with Toronto. The over is 5-2 in its last seven games and its last seven road games against righties. The over is also 6-2 in Baltimore’s last eight games and 15-8-2 in the last 25 versus division rivals. The over is 18-7-4 in Bundy’s previous 29 matchups against AL East foes.

***3-Star Picks***

Blue Jays -1.5 runs (+121)

Even with swatting 13 home runs in their previous five games even with Bundy attempting to stare down this lineup, there is not an abundant amount of confidence in taking the Jays and the run line because Pannone is still a question mark as a starter.

Besides the mass volume of gopher balls served up and Toronto’s slugging kiddie corps undoubtedly eager to try and clear the short fences, a second key reason to take the Jays is Bundy being awful at home of late. He has lost four consecutive starts at Camden Yards with a 9.00 ERA as opponents are hitting .367 over 17 innings in that stretch.

Jays -0.5 runs (+121)

The Blue Jays are 3-1-1 at the midway point during their winning streak, but this is more about the Orioles not having a lead after five. Baltimore is 2-9 in its last 11 home games at the five-inning mark and 0-4-2 in its last six at Camden Yards when Bundy is on the bump.

Toronto, though, is 0-3-1 after five innings in Pannone’s four starts, so there is only modest confidence in this pick.

UNDER 6 runs (-121)

The five-inning under has been streaking with Toronto, hitting the last five games, but the number itself is the reason for the under as the pick. The under has gone 4-0-1 in Toronto’s last five games at six runs and also 6-1-1 in Baltimore’s last eight at six or 6.5 runs.

There is some concern since the only time Bundy has delivered the under in his last five starts (1-3-1) came against Toronto last month, but the feeling is the teams will fall just short for the third straight game.

Orioles UNDER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (-145)

A pair of converging trends make this worth a flyer. The Blue Jays have held their last six opponents to one or no runs in the first five innings and under two runs in the first three innings in nine of their last 10 contests.

On the other end, Baltimore has been held without a run in the first three innings in its last three games and to one or no runs in seven of its last nine.

 

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