The Orioles are already guaranteed to have their first winning April since the 2008 season. With a win in tonight's game against the Athletics, they would go to six games above .500 for the first time since July 20, 2005. Ah, but first they would have to win the game. What are we going to see tonight?
Jake Arrieta takes the mound for the O's. He's coming off that one disastrous inning in Anaheim, but will the bad Jake be the one we see, or the good one? He'll be helped by facing an Oakland offense that's scored 59 runs in its 20 games played. In fact, the Athletics have scored fewer runs than any AL team, though they have also only allowed 64 runs. So far this season, Arrieta has managed a nice pace of strikeouts while walking fewer batters than he has in his career to date. If that pattern continues, signs will be good, even as the dark god Babip takes its due - at .257, Jake's probably still got some more bad luck coming to him.
Orioles hitters will get to see Brandon McCarthy, one of a handful of baseball players who is actually worth following on Twitter, but only if you also follow his wife, because their interactions are hilarious. He is a tall dude, listed at 6'7", though this doesn't make him a strikeout pitcher. He gets a few strikeouts and doesn't issue many walks, and probably benefits from having a cavernous mausoleum in which to make half his starts. Three of his five starts already this year have been in Oakland. McCarthy gave up five earned runs in the one road start he has made. This is probably a coincidence. You may have also noticed the prior sentences only add up to four starts, and that's because he made one start in Japan.
Robert Andino is back from paternity leave, and Jim Johnson is out of the hospital. The diagnosis for old/young JJ was food poisoning. The beat types report him as saying it's "a stretch" to think he might pitch tonight. In the last series, we saw that the Orioles bullpen is full of relievers who can come in and get saves. Hey, do you think there is some kind of lesson there about why you shouldn't give big free agent contracts to relievers?
Despite reports that Gregg was meeting behind closed doors with Buck and Rick Adair, there is no pending roster move involving Gregg to the DL. In fact, Gregg had an MRI done on his right side and it came back clean. Would that our minds could be scrubbed clean of the damage he has inflicted upon us in his time in Baltimore.
The O's have struggled against Oakland in recent years, and if they want to continue these pretensions of being a "different breed" of team, they should probably win this series. The Yankees loom in a few days time.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND ATHLETICS|
|Nolan Reimold - LF||Jemile Weeks - 2B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Coco Crisp - LF|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Adam Jones - CF||Yoenis Cespedes - CF|
|Matt Wieters - C||Kila Ka\'aihue - 1B|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Seth Smith - DH|
|Mark Reynolds - DH||Kurt Suzuki - C|
|Ryan Flaherty - 3B||Luke Hughes - 3B|
|Robert Andino - 2B||Cliff Pennington - SS|