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Series Preview: The day after the storm

The Blue Jays have cleared house over the past couple of days. In doing so, there are now just two remaining players from their 2016 playoff run. Justin Smoak and Ryan Tepera are the last ones standing from the team that claimed the hearts of a nation just a few seasons ago. But, this also marks a new era in Blue Jays history, the kids’ era.

This team was officially handed over to the young core of the Blue Jays following the trade deadline. Trading away both Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez has not only made the Blue Jays even younger than they already are. But, it has also cleared out the majority of the veterans on this team. So, it’ll be interesting to see how the Blue Jays perform during the rest of the season, given that the majority of the team is now filled with rookies.

Thursday at 7:05 ET

Trent Thornton will be making his first start since being placed on the injured list with elbow inflammation. The 25-year-old last pitched on July 20 against the Tigers. Thornton lasted just three innings before he was forced to leave the game due to his elbow. Last time out against the Orioles, Thornton recorded one of his best starts of the season.

The 5th-round pick in 2015 pitched six innings and held the “Trash Birds” to just three hits. Thornton also created five strikeouts against the Orioles as well. The Trash Birds have struck out the 4th-most among teams in the AL since the all-star break. So, if Thornton can limit the number of walks he allows, then he should have no problem repeating the same success he had against the Orioles last time out.

Asher Wojciechowski has quietly been dropping Woj bombs on opposing teams over his last two starts. The 1st-round pick by the Blue Jays back in 2010 has allowed just two runs on four hits and has created a combined 16 strikeouts over his last 14.1 innings pitched.

In his start against the Blue Jays last month, Wojciechowski was chased after just four and 1/3 innings after he surrendered three runs on four hits. The Blue Jays’ offense currently owns the 3rd-worst OPS in the AL since the all-star break. So, their lineup will need to remain patient at the plate in this game. Or they will likely have a very tough time recording many hits off of Wojciechowski.

Friday at 7:05 ET

This was supposed to be Aaron Sanchez’s start in the rotation. But for whatever reason, the Blue Jays’ front office decided to give up on Sanchez by overpaying the Astros to take him off their hands. Now, the Blue Jays are left with a rotation that will likely perform very poorly for the next couple of seasons.

With the awful timing of the Sanchez deal, the Blue Jays currently have a massive hole at the back-end of their rotation. Which is why they were forced to claim Brock Stewart off waivers from the Dodgers. With Ryan Borucki on the IL for an unknown amount of time, the Blue Jays will be forced to use Stewart until a better option arises. Stewart owns a 7.34 ERA, 1.803 WHIP, 2.3 HR/9, 4.7 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9 through 17 games at triple-A this season.

Aaron Brooks has been pounded by opposing teams over his last two starts. The 29-year-old has given up a combined eleven runs on 16 hits along with a pair of home runs over 8.2 innings pitched. Brooks’ performance since being acquired by the Trash Birds last month is a massive reason why the Orioles currently own the 3rd-highest OPP OPS(.821) in the AL since the all-star break.

The Orioles have had one of the worst starting rotations all season-long. Which is why they have surrendered the most home runs(209) of any team so far this season. The Blue Jays are tied for the 2nd-most home runs in the AL over the past week. So, they should be able to take Brooks deep multiple times in this game, pushing the Orioles home run total even further past 200.

Saturday at 7:05 ET

Thomas Pannone(or Thomas Panini as some people call him) just hasn’t performed as well as the Blue Jays had hoped he would have in his two starts since being recalled. Pannone has given up five extra-base hits and seven runs over those pair of starts.

Although, the Blue Jays don’t have any other options to start games for them as of yet. So, that means Pannone will continue to receive opportunities in hopes that he’ll show slight improvements in each outing. While the Orioles’ offense has performed better as of recently, they’re still one of the worst offenses in the AL. Which means this start provides a great opportunity for Pannone to test his skills as a starting pitcher in the MLB once again.

The Blue Jays struggled mightily in their game against Dylan Bundy last month. Bundy held the Blue Jays’ hitters to just one run on three hits along with six strikeouts in that start as well. The arrival of Bo Bichette has made the Blue Jays’ lineup even more of a threat than it already was.

So, that likely means the Blue Jays should be able to have better success against Bundy in this game. Bundy has also struggled to keep batters off the bases over his last two starts. As he’s allowed a combined five walks during his last eleven innings of work. Which means the Blue Jays will need to force a lot of deep counts against Bundy in this game.

Sunday at 1:05 ET

With the trades of Stroman and Sanchez, Sean Reid-Foley will now be made apart of the Blue Jays’ rotation until at least September. So, that means Reid-Foley will be able to showcase himself once again to the Blue Jays to prove to them that he belongs to be apart of this team going forward.

Reid-Foley struggled at times with his location during his last start against the Royals. The 23-year-old gave up a total of four walks through five innings in his latest outing. The Orioles have recorded the 3rd-fewest amount of walks in the AL since the all-star break. Which should allow Reid-Foley to lower his terrible 5.1 BB/9 following this game.

David Hess has been so terrible for the Trash Birds this season that they moved him to their bullpen before trading Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox last month. But, Hess got shellshocked by the Padres in his first start since being moved back to the rotation. The 26-year-old gave up five runs on six hits and four home runs through four and 2/3 innings.

Home runs continue to be a massive problem for Hess this season. He’s allowed a total of 24 home runs in just 14 starts this season. That total currently ranks Hess tied for 4th in the AL for the most home runs surrendered. The Blue Jays create the majority of their runs via the home run. Which means it shouldn’t be surprising to see the Blue Jays score double digits in this game off of Hess.