Orioles stand pat after disappointing split with Athletics

OAKLAND, CA — After losing a series to the Angels 2-1, the Orioles needed to make up some ground this weekend against the second-to-worst team in the American League. That did not happen, and Baltimore comes out of the weekend in the same situation they went into Oakland with: two games below .500 (58-60), and in the back seat of the AL Wild Card Race.

Game one: 7-2 Orioles

The entire series went up and down for both teams. Thursday began with Baltimore slamming four home runs off Oakland starter Chris Smith. Those home runs featured two back-to-back sequences that both involved Trey Mancini. In the fourth inning, Mancini followed Adam Jones, and in the sixth inning the 25-year-old infielder was shadowed by Mark Trumbo.

Mancini finished the game with three hits. Jones completed the game with three RBI; one on the solo homer and two on a seventh-inning double.

Wade Miley tossed seven innings, allowing one run on three hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts. The last time Miley lasted seven innings came on June 1 against the Red Sox. Zach Britton racked up his 10’th save of the season in the win.

Game two: 5-4 Athletics

After not allowing a run in his three prior appearances, Brad Brach struggled on Friday night. The Orioles held a 3-2 lead going into the eighth inning, but things would unravel quickly. Left-fielder Matt Joyce, batting leadoff, got the inning started with a double off Brach. Shortstop Marcus Semien singled to left, advancing Joyce to third. Joyce scored and tied the game when second baseman Jed Lowrie hit a ground-rule double. After Brach earned the first out on a strikeout, Chris Davis dropped a pop-up in foul territory. Oakland got the winning run in on a sacrifice fly by Chad Pinder.

The loss yielded Brach a record of .500 at 3-3. Starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez gave up three runs over 5.1 innings. He tallied 11 strikeouts on Friday night, which beat his previous season-high of nine on July 26 against Tampa Bay.

Jones hit a solo home run and scored Manny Machado on a double-play RBI. Machado scored again on a double by Jonathan Schoop.

Game three: 12-5 Orioles 

The Birds scored seven runs in the first inning off A’s starter Sean Manaea, who recorded just one out before being pulled from the game. The O’s sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning. Saturday became the first time since May 20, 2008 that the Orioles scored seven or more runs in the first inning, according to Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline.com.

The Orioles pounced on the A’s on Saturday, finishing with 20 hits and eight doubles. Eight doubles goes down as a season-high for Baltimore. Amazingly, the Orioles accomplished all of the offensive production without a home run. Tim Beckham went 4-for-5 at the plate with three RBI on two doubles. Both Jones and Joey Rickard tallied three hits, with Jones notching three RBI on a double and a single. Machado and Davis contributed by both finishing with two RBI – Machado on a double and a single, and Davis on two singles.

Despite the offensive onslaught, the Orioles did not play a perfect game. Starter Dylan Bundy gave up three home runs in the first two innings on home runs by Khris Davis and Matt Olson. However, Oakland never truly threatened in the game. The Orioles kept the A’s at bay, and Oakland did not get on the board again until they eighth inning.

Saturday indicates the second time Baltimore scored 12 runs in August. The Orioles defeated the Detroit Tigers, 12-3, on Aug. 6 at Camden Yards.

Game four: 9-3 Athletics

The Orioles scored one run apiece in the first two innings on RBI singles by Schoop and Davis. Baltimore controlled early, but a five-run fourth inning put the game in Oakland’s favor. After making his way through three innings unscathed, Jeremy Hellickson imploded in the fourth.

The A’s played small ball to get their first two runs on the board, but infielder Matt Chapman‘s three-run home run awarded Oakland the lead. Semien and Joyce homered later in the game, and eventually Baltimore found themselves down by six. Machado added a solo home run in the eighth inning, that came when the O’s trailed by six.

Sunday represents Hellickosn’s worst outing since coming to Baltimore in late July. Chris Tillman made his first career relief appearance on Sunday, registering two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 11 strikes.

Notes:

  • Beckham played all four of these games from the leadoff position in Baltimore’s lineup. That did not impact his play. Beckham did not record a hit on Sunday, but in this series he notched eight hits, four doubles, a triple, and three RBI.
  • Also at the plate in Oakland, Jones went 7-for-17 with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBI.
  • J.J. Hardy, the Orioles’ starting shortstop prior to Beckham’s arrival, will not return from the 60-day disabled list on Friday, Aug. 18. Hardy suffered a fractured wrist against the Cardinals on June 18 when he got hit by a pitch. Even if Hardy returns with a decent amount of time left in the season, its hard to envision manager Buck Showalter putting him back in the lineup on a regular basis. Hardy turns 35 on Saturday, owns a .211 batting average in 2017, and his contract expires after the season.

Up Next: Baltimore wraps up their 10-game road trip with a three-game series in Seattle against the Mariners. Going into the weekend, Seattle held the second Wild Card spot in the AL. After getting swept by the Angels in four games at home, the Mariners (59-60) now find themselves on the outside looking in, with the Angels, Twins and Royals all overtaking them in the race.

Seattle sits two games back in the Wild Card standings, with Baltimore right behind them at 2.5 games.

Image Credit: Mercury News 

Series Preview: Orioles continue west coast trip in Oakland

OAKLAND — Going into a 10-game road trip out west featuring match-ups against two teams in the American League Wild Card Race, the Orioles knew they needed to come out strong against the Angels. Well, that did not happen. Baltimore started off the trip out west losing two of three to Los Angeles. The Angels held Baltimore to three runs in the final two games, ending an offensive onslaught that began with the signing of Tim Beckham.

The Oakland Athletics face a plethora of struggles too. They currently represent the second-to-worst record in the AL, and just got swept by division rival Seattle over two games.

Now, the Orioles and Athletics will lock arms in a four-game weekend series at the Oakland Coliseum.

Last Meeting: In 2016, the Orioles played 3-4 baseball against the A’s. Baltimore took two of three from Oakland at Camden Yards. One of those wins featured an 11-3 offensive explosion. Manny Machado finished that game with six RBI on a grand slam and another two-run homer. Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Joey Rickard also found the long ball in that game.

In Oakland, the Orioles struggled, going 1-3. All losses were by one run, 0-1, 1-2, and 2-3. Despite great performances by Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, and Yovani Gallardo, Oakland limited the O’s to three runs in as many games. The O’s went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 14 runners on-base. The O’s did pick up a 9-6 win at the Coliseum, but the offensive struggles in the other three games overshadowed that win.

Standings Update: The Orioles (56-58) come into Oakland 2.5 games back in the AL Wild Card Race. The Red Sox (64-49) currently man the first place slot in the AL East. The A’s (50-64) sit in the cellar of the AL West, 22 games behind the Astros (71-41).

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1Thursday, Aug. 10, 10:05 pm – Wade Miley (5-9, 5.51 ERA) vs. Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Friday, Aug. 11, 10:05 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez (5-7, 6.31 ERA) vs. Paul Blackburn (3-1, 2.60 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3Saturday, Aug. 12, 9:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (11-8, 4.15 ERA) vs. Sean Manaea (8-6, 4.15 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4Sunday, Aug. 13, 4:05 pm – Jeremy Hellickson (7-6, 4.45 ERA) vs. Kendall Graveman (2-3, 4.97 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Key Orioles stats in Oakland:

  • Three of Baltimore’s starters sport ERA’s below 4 at the Oakland Coliseum: Miley (1.42, two starts), Jimenez (2.31, two starts), and Hellickson (3.44, three starts). Bundy will start his first game in Oakland on Saturday.
  • Chris Davis owns a career .307 average at the Coliseum. In 127 at-bats, the 31-year-old infielder looks to add on to his 39 hits, eight doubles, nine home runs, and 30 RBI.

A’s against the Orioles: 

  • Khris with a K Davis is a lifetime .290 hitter against Baltimore, with 19 hits, seven doubles, three home runs and six RBI in 31 at-bats against the O’s.
  • Oakland’s leading hitter, infielder Jed Lowrie, clocks in with a .270 average. Against Baltimore, however, Lowrie quietly hits just .213.

Up Next: The Orioles play the last of three series of the 10-game west coast trip in Seattle against the Mariners. Seattle (59-56) owns the second place mark in the AL West. If the season ended today, the second Wild Card slot in the AL belongs to the Mariners, with the first going to the Yankees (59-52).

Note: All standings and stats in this post are as of Aug. 9. 

Image Credit: SFBay