Orioles-Blue Jays Preview
Buck Showalter is known for his meticulous planning so it's not surprising he knows exactly which pitchers he is going to use in the Baltimore Orioles' meaningless regular-season finale.
Miguel Gonzalez will start with at least five relievers to follow Sunday as the visiting Orioles look to avoid a three-game sweep by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Baltimore (95-66) has the No. 2 seed and will not begin its division series until Thursday, so Showalter wants to give Gonzalez (9-9, 3.33 ERA) some work before the right-hander pitches in Game 2 or Game 3. Chris Tillman will pitch the opener.
Showalter said that he won't use Gonzalez for many innings since he wants to give his relievers some work. That figures to cost Gonzalez a chance at a 10th win, which would give Baltimore four pitchers with at least that may for the first time since 1997.
Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach Britton, Darren O'Day, Andrew Miller and Tommy Hunter will all follow Gonzalez to the mound - possibly in that order.
"We've got to get him (Gonzalez), I'm probably going to get Ubaldo out there, I know Zach's going to pitch again, Darren's going to pitch, Miller's going to pitch and Hunter's going to pitch," Showalter said.
Gonzalez has surrendered six runs over 11 2-3 innings in losing consecutive outings. He is 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in two starts against Toronto (83-78) this year.
The right-hander has limited Edwin Encarnacion to three hits - all homers - in 20 at-bats and Jose Bautista to three in 14 in his career. Adam Lind is 8 for 16 versus Gonzalez.
The Blue Jays seek to cap this homestand with a 6-1 mark and a three-game sweep after winning the first two games by 4-2 scores.
Toronto is tied for second place with the New York Yankees. The Blue Jays haven't finished in second since 2006 though they had expectations of gaining their first postseason berth since winning the World Series in 1993.
"It's really too bad, because I think everyone had that sense that this was going to be that year, that special season,'' closer Casey Janssen said.
Baltimore seeks to avoid losing four straight for the first time since May 27-30. The Orioles have seven errors during this three-game slide, with three Saturday.
"We're throwing the ball around a little bit right now," Showalter said.
Veteran infielder Alexi Casilla went 0 for 4 on Saturday in his season debut after he was selected from Triple-A Norfolk.
"We'll see about tomorrow, see how he feels," Showalter said. "He's had a little travel day, had some time off. He's a guy in the past, we're well familiar with."
Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey (14-12, 3.78) can reach 15 wins for the second time in his career after winning 20 during his 2012 Cy Young Award season with the New York Mets.
The knuckleballer is 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA in his last seven starts, yielding two runs in seven innings to earn Tuesday's 10-2 home win over Seattle.
Since joining the Blue Jays in 2013, Dickey is 0-3 with a 6.05 ERA in five starts versus Baltimore. Six different Orioles have combined for seven homers off him in that span.