Blue Jays, Orioles renew rivalry in wild-card rematch
BALTIMORE (AP) The Baltimore Orioles start a new baseball season the same way they ended the last one: with a game against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Opening day at Camden Yards on Monday features a matchup between AL East rivals with high hopes of making a return trip to the postseason.
”Anytime you play games in the division, those are the games that matter,” said Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman, who will make his first opening day start.
When Toronto and Baltimore met in the AL wild-card game last October, the stakes were significantly higher. The winner advanced in the playoffs, the loser went home.
Toronto prevailed when Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run homer off Ubaldo Jimenez in the 11th inning.
”It hurt. It hurt for a while,” shortstop J.J. Hardy said Sunday. ”As long as baseball was being played last year, it was crossing all our minds.”
The Orioles insist they’ve put that game behind them. Their focus is solely on this season, and it all begins with a matchup against a team they don’t like but certainly respect.
”Toronto’s a good club,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”We know they’re going to be in contention, so it’s a good test for us…