Tonight’s game is the opener of a three-game set in Oakland and will mark the second time the Orioles make the trip out to the west coast. In their last appearance in northern California, the Orioles were swept in a three-game set. They returned the favor by pulling out brooms of their own, as Oakland made their way to Baltimore a few weeks later. In the all-time series, the Orioles trail narrowly 240-242.
The Orioles will look to take advantage of those expecting them to flop on the road, considering they have lost 14 out of their last 17 road games, having not won a road series since May.
J.J. Hardy was named AL Player of the Week for the week ending August 14. During that time, Hardy batted .321 with two doubles, four long balls and 10 RBI. Hardy has been the most valuable addition to this Orioles club, as he leads all AL shortstops with a .988 fielding percentage and leads the majors in home runs (21) since June 1.
The Birds will have to deal with a few troublesome players of their own when they face Oakland this series. While the Athletics are not the toughest of opponents, they send left-hander Gio Gonzalez to the mound in game one. The Orioles only have 10 wins this season against left-handed pitching, not to mention Gonzalez leads his team in ERA.
The Orioles will look to continue their season of giving. Already the Orioles have surpassed their number of home runs from the 2010 season, and it doesn’t look like they are nearly finished. 39 of their 46 wins have come in games where an Oriole has gone deep.
The Orioles look to rebound off yet another losing series over the weekend. Perhaps a long plane ride and a late start tonight could go a long way for this struggling club.
Game one: Monday, August 15, at 10:07 p.m.—RHP Tommy Hunter (1-2, 4.67) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (9-10, 3.25)
Tommy Hunter gets the start tonight for the O’s. In his last outing, Hunter worked 6.2 innings, yielding four runs on seven hits. It was a walk-off home run by Nolan Reimold that ended up sealing the deal for the O’s. Hunter is 4-0 with a 4.59 ERA against Oakland lifetime. Hunter hopes to keep the winning streak alive, while keeping the runs at a minimum.
Gio Gonzalez hasn’t had the best of luck in recent starts. In his last start, Gonzalez extended his losing streak to four games straight after a tough outing against the Blue Jays. In the sixth inning, Gonzalez allowed three runs, loading the bases with only one out before being relieved. The following batter smacked a grand slam, closing the door on a possible A’s victory.
Game Two: Tuesday, August 16, at 10:07 p.m.—TBA vs. RHP Guillermo Moscoso (5-6, 3.52)
In his last appearance, Moscoso looked like an ace, allowing only two runs on three hits against Toronto. While run-support was not a question for the young right-hander who has gone 2-2 since being recalled from Triple-A Sacramento, Moscoso still got it done when it mattered. Against the O’s Moscoso has been hit or miss. In 10 innings of work, he has given up as many hits, with six earned runs to go along with them.
The Orioles have not yet named a starter for Tuesday night’s matchup, although it looks as if LHP Brian Matusz will be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to regain his thunder as an everyday O’s starter. Not much is to be said about Matusz, who comes off a disappointing season that started on the DL. In his last start in the minors, Matusz looked impressive as he shut Lehigh Valley.
Game Three: Wednesday, August 17, at 3:37 p.m.—RHP Alfredo Simon (3-5, 4.35) vs. RHP Brandon McCarthy (5-6, 3.62)
Brandon McCarthy gets the start for the A’s, and will look to rebound from a strenuous past showing on the mound. In his last appearance, McCarthy gave up eight hits and seven runs in just 3.1 innings of work. However, McCarthy had been on a hot streak before Texas shut him down. Two starts previous, McCarthy went eight innings, giving up just five hits and no earned runs. It will be interesting to see which Brandon McCarthy takes the mound for the A’s on Wednesday afternoon.
This writer is not ready to give up on Alfredo Simon just yet. In his last start, Simon gave up 11 hits in just 4.2 innings of work. While his last few starts have shown hits in the double digits, Simon has shown moments of greatness. His comfort levels on the mound are the true telling of how he will pitch that night. Fans will be able to see just how Simon will pitch throughout the game within the first few pitches.
By the Numbers:
- Mark Reynolds is on pace to hit 36 home runs this season. That would be the most by an Oriole third basemen in franchise history.
- In 118 games, Adam Jones has driven in 72 runs, and looks to break the elusive 100 RBI milestone. Only two centerfielders in Orioles’ history have driven in 100 runs in a season (Brady Anderson and Mike Devereaux).
- The Orioles’ bullpen walked three in one inning on Sunday.