Toronto clinched a playoff spot with its win over the New York Yankees on Thursday, and the Blue Jays keep on winning. They doubled up the Baltimore Orioles by a score of 10-5 on Friday night in Buffalo.
Nate Pearson had been out since Aug. 18, but he returned to the mound for Toronto and secured his first win of the season coming on in relief of Taijuan Walker. Pearson threw 1.2 innings and allowed no runs on one hit and one walk. He struck out two batters. Walker started the game and threw three perfect innings, allowing no runs, no hits and no walks. He struck out four batters as he picked up a no decision.
The Blue Jays jumped out to a 10-0 start through the first four innings and coasted to a comfortable victory. Randal Grichuk and Travis Shaw homered in the game to improve Toronto to 31-27 on the season.
After the Blue Jays struggled in the middle of September, they have found their stride at the right time. Toronto won five of its last six games including three in a row heading into Saturday night’s game.
Saturday night primer
The Blue Jays will play their second-to-last regular season game of a strange 2020 MLB season in which they are playing all their home games in Buffalo. Toronto will face Baltimore in the second game of a three-game series.
While the Blue Jays are already going to be a part of the postseason no matter what, they are currently a game out of second place in the American League East behind the Yankees, which lost to the Miami Marlins in 10 innings on Friday night.
While earning the second spot in the division would be nice, the Blue Jays are more concerned about getting prepared for the postseason. That was evident by Cavan Biggio and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. taking a seat on the bench on Friday night, in addition to Walker seeing only three innings despite not even allowing a base runner.
Other items to note as fans look forward to what the postseason will roster look like: Blue Jays’ general manager Ross Atkins said infielder Rowdy Tellez is unlikely to be healthy for when the MLB Playoffs start with a knee injury. Pitcher Jordan Romano remains a potential possibility for Toronto to use a roster spot on him as he returns from a finger injury.
Matt Shoemaker will make his second start since returning from the injured list. He comes in with an 0-1 record and a 4.71 earned run average. The Blue Jays are 2-4 in six games Shoemaker has appeared in this season.
Baltimore is coming in with a record of 24-34 for fourth place in the American League East ahead of only the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles are limping to the finish line, losing seven of their last nine games.
The Orioles will will start lefthander John Means. He comes in with a 2-3 record and a 5.02 ERA. Toronto faced Means in a game on Aug. 28. Means threw four innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk with three strikeouts in a 5-4 victory for the Blue Jays in 10 innings. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez both homered in that game for Toronto.
While it’s difficult to handicap when it’s unclear what the motivation factor will be for each team, here’s a look at the odds coming into Saturday night’s game against Baltimore. This game will get started at 6:37 p.m. ET.
All odds are according to a popular United States sportsbook.
- Baltimore Orioles +1.5 (-148)
- Toronto Blue Jays -1.5 (+123)
- Over 9 (-115)
- Under 9 (-106)
- Baltimore Orioles +133
- Toronto Blue Jays -157
The 2020 MLB regular season is scheduled to conclude on Sunday, Sept. 27. The playoffs will get started on Tuesday, Sept. 29.