video thumbnail

Hammel talks with MLB Network about his success

The Orioles and Blue Jays can fully appreciate each other's position in the universe. Both Toronto and Baltimore know what it's like to compete in the shadow of New York and Boston, and both teams know that every win in the American League East is precious no matter when it comes.

The two division rivals played that way in their series opener, and they'll come back for more Wednesday at Camden Yards. Baltimore will match veteran Jason Hammel against youngster Kyle Drabek, and Toronto manager John Farrell is hoping his team can keep up its intensity.

"We still know that, within our division, those games mean the most and that's where we have to continue to improve upon," he said. "That's not to take anyone lightly outside of our division, but we all know that the 18 games per team in here mean twice as much just because of the head-up competition. We will be challenged every night we walk onto the field against a team in this division. For us to get where we want to go, we're going to have to go through the teams that are in the East."

The Blue Jays have struggled thus far against division rivals -- notching a 4-6 record in their first 10 games -- but that still hasn't stopped them from competing for first place in the East. The Orioles have gone 3-4 against division rivals, and they pulled even with Toronto after Tuesday's victory.

Hammel went eight innings and allowed just two hits in his season debut, and he struck out 10 batters in six strong innings against the White Sox in his last outing. Hammel has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his three starts and he's given up just one home run in 19 innings.

Drabek, meanwhile, appears to be finding himself as a big league starter. The 24-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA through his first three starts, a positive sign after notching a 4-5 record with a 6.06 mark last season. Drabek walked six batters in his last start, his lone no-decision of the year.

Blue Jays: Lawrie searching for power
Brett Lawrie has had at least one hit in 11 of his last 12 starts, but the youngster is still trying to establish his power stroke. Toronto's third baseman has seen just three of his first 19 hits go for extra bases, but he's come around to score nine runs in his first 17 games this season.

Lawrie, a native of British Columbia, has been especially good at home for Toronto, where he's batting .314 through his first nine games. Lawrie, by contrast, is hitting .272 on the road.

Orioles: Wieters taking off
Matt Wieters is really starting to get people's attention. Baltimore's switch-hitting catcher went deep for the sixth time of the season Tuesday and he's now had the three most powerful months of his career in succession. Wieters hit five homers last August and a career-best seven in September.

The backstop has already gone for his first career grand slam and multi-homer game this month and could be gearing up for a huge season. Wieters has found a home in the fifth spot of the batting order for the Orioles, and he's hitting .286 (14-for-49) with seven extra-base hits this season.

Worth noting
• Baltimore reliever Pedro Strop notched the first save of his career in Tuesday's opener.

• The Orioles are 3-1 against Toronto this year, but haven't taken a season series against the Jays since 2004.

• Despite Tuesday's loss, the Blue Jays are four games over .500 on the road.

MLB.com Comments