Baseball preview: Blue Jays vs. Orioles

The Jose Bautista Home Run Watch will take a back seat as Blue Jays' top pitching prospect, Kyle Drabek, makes his major-league debut Wednesday night at Baltimore.

What's at stake

Plenty, if your name is Kyle Drabek. Many eyes will be on the Blue Jays' top pitching prospect as he makes his major-league debut. He will forever be linked to former ace Roy Halladay, who was traded by Toronto to Philadelphia last December in return for Drabek and two other prospects. The 73-72 Blue Jays will try to avoid a three-game sweep and falling back to .500.

The Numbers


  • Road record: 34-39
  • Last 10 games: 4-6
  • Home runs 226 (AL rank: 1st)


  • Home record: 32-41
  • Last 10 games: 8-2
  • Walks: 386 (AL rank: 14th)

Head to head: Blue Jays lead 12-2

Game time: 7:05 p.m. ET at Camden Yards

Players to watch


Kyle Drabek. The 22-year-old is expected to make three starts with the Blue Jays after he was named Eastern League pitcher of the year with AA New Hampshire. Drabek is the son of former Oriole and 1990 National League Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. In 27 starts this season, the younger Drabek posted a 14-9 record and 2.98 earned-run average.


Adam Jones. The Orioles' centre-fielder has hit safely in eight of nine games and has delivered a pair of hits in each of the first two games against Toronto this week. His two-run home run off reliever Casey Janssen in Tuesday's eighth inning increased Baltimore's lead to 11-3.

Game-day pitchers

TOR — Kyle Drabek (no record) vs. BAL — Brad Bergesen (6-10, 5.29 ERA)

Drabek became a possible September call-up for the Blue Jays after making just one post-season start for New Hampshire, which was swept by Trenton in a best-of-five Eastern League playoff. Drabek, who has logged 162 innings compared to 158 a year ago, is likely to start Sept. 22 against Seattle and Sept. 28 versus the New York Yankees. Drafted 18th overall by Philadelphia in 2006, he is expected to show off an improved changeup on Wednesday.

Brad Bergesen was in Drabek's spot 17 months ago, picking up the win in his major league debut on April 21, 2009, when he allowed one run over 5 2/3 innings. The 24-year-old has struggled this season but sports a 2.62 ERA in eight starts since July 31. He carries a 9.77 ERA and .386 opponents' batting average in three starts versus Toronto this year.

Injury update

The Blue Jays are healthy after third baseman Edwin Encarnacion returned Monday from a sprained left wrist.

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts missed Tuesday's game after being hit in the knee by a pitch in the eighth inning Monday and is day to day. Left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz is expected to make his next start, despite experiencing soreness in the left triceps after being hit on a comebacker Monday.

The series

Baltimore has its sights set on a three-game sweep after dropping the first 12 meetings with the Jays this season. The teams will wrap up the season series with three games at Toronto Sept. 24-26.

What they said

"I know when I get on the mound for the first time that I'll have a lot of nerves. After I throw that first pitch, it becomes a normal baseball game." — Blue Jays prospect Kyle Drabek on his major-league debut Wednesday.

"[We'll] see how he can stay calm and cool out there, deal with the pressure. It's all about pitching and playing up here, dealing with the pressure." — Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston on Drabek.