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Toronto Blue Jays (77-72) at Baltimore Orioles (90-60)
Tuesday, September 16 - 7:05 PM EST
Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Wrapping up their first division title in 17 years is a mere formality for the Baltimore Orioles, who can win the American League East with a victory over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night. The Orioles dispatched second-place Toronto in the series opener to clinch a tie for their first title since the 1997 season. "It's pretty special to come in here tomorrow and have a chance to do that," manager Buck Showalter said. "We've worked hard for this opportunity."
While Baltimore has won eight of nine to move a season-high 30 games over .500, the Blue Jays are five games behind Kansas City for the second wild card. Toronto may not be in the mood to watch the Orioles celebrate, particularly after emotions ran high during the series opener when Blue Jays shortstop Jose Reyes was angered that Baltimore catcher Caleb Joseph blocked his path on a headfirst slide to the plate. Marcus Stroman threw a pitch that buzzed Joseph's head in his next at-bat, a move Showalter termed "borderline professionally embarrassing."
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, SNET (Toronto), MASN2 (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays RH Drew Hutchison (10-11, 4.36 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Ubaldo Jimenez (4-9, 4.96)
Hutchison is coming off a dominant performance, matching his season high with 10 strikeouts and permitting one run on four hits over 6 1/3 innings in a victory over the Chicago Cubs. The win stretched Hutchison's unbeaten string to four starts, a span in which he has surrendered five runs and 17 hits in 25 1/3 innings. Hutchison has never lost to Baltimore, sporting a 3-0 record with a 1.13 ERA and 0.86 WHIP in six career starts.
Jimenez is an unlikely candidate to pitch a potential clincher after he was banished to the bullpen following another ragged outing in a 6-0 loss to Cleveland on Aug. 16. The 30-year-old Dominican, who was leading the AL in walks when he was yanked from the rotation, has made only two appearances since his demotion. He has lost both home starts to the Blue Jays this season, including six innings of two-run ball in a 4-0 defeat on June 13.
1. Showalter can move past Billy Martin (1,253 wins) and into sole possession for 36th place on the all-time list with a victory Tuesday.
2. The Blue Jays have received six innings from their starters in a team-record 21 consecutive games.
3. Orioles CF Adam Jones is 6-for-12 over his last three games.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Orioles 4