Jays carry late-season momentum into Baltimore

Things may not have gone as planned in 2009, but the Toronto Blue Jays have caught a glimpse of what could have been during their current six-game winning streak.

As they head into their final series of the season in Baltimore, Toronto is riding the wave of their first three-game sweep at Fenway Park since 2001, a series where they outscored the mighty Boston Red Sox 31-12 and mashed 13 home runs.

At 75-84, the Jays will be taking on the one team they are looking down at in the American League East, the Baltimore Orioles.

The O’s (61-98) have their own incentive, as they look to avoid just their third 100-loss season in franchise history. To do so, they will need to take at least two out of three games.

Although the Jays’ 27-14 start is a distant memory, there have been many positives in what’s now 15 consecutive non-playoff seasons.

Aaron Hill and Adam Lind rank first and second on the club with 36 and 35 home runs, respectively, while Roy Halladay has had another Cy Young-caliber year with 17 wins and a 2.79 ERA.

While Halladay will not pitch again this season, the Jays will turn to AL Rookie of the Year candidate Ricky Romero (13-9, 4.26) in the finale.

David Purcey and Scott Richmond, who will vie for rotation spots next year, will take the mound in the first two games, opposed by Jason Berken and Mark Hendrickson.

Jeremy Guthrie will face Romero on Sunday.

The recent hot streak has added to the hope that, with the return of starting pitchers Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan, the Blue Jays can take their recent momentum with them into next season.

In the month of September, the Jays walloped a total of 35 dingers while posting a 16-14 record, their first winning month since April, when they went 15-9.

Against Baltimore this season Toronto is 9-6, but just 1-5 at Camden Yards.

The rebuilding Orioles feature several up-and-coming hitters, including right fielder Nick Markakis, a 25-year-old who leads the club with 158 games played and 97 runs batted in while batting .289.

Luke Scott has paced Baltimore with a team-leading 25 home runs.