I would have been more likely to bet on the Orioles looking to avoid a sweep heading into the fourth game of this series than looking to pull one off. I am wrong about these guys, have been wrong, will hopefully continue to be wrong.
One reason that the series has gone so well through three games is that the starting pitching has, on the whole, had its act together. They've notched three straight quality starts, highlighted by Wei-Yin Chen's Friday gem. Miguel Gonzalez will look to continue that today, and if he does, the Orioles should figure to have a decent chance to win. Gonzalez has had 3/4 quality starts so far this season, and he is yet another pitcher who ought to be helped by pitching in the Oakland Coliseum, with its generous territory for tracking down fly balls.
For the Athletics, the creature known as Bartolo Colon will slither from the dugout to the mound and back. You do not want to cross his type or you will find yourself accosted by bounty hunters in places like Mos Eisley and Ord Mantell. You may, if things go truly poorly, find yourself encased in carbonite and displayed as a trophy and a warning against future smugglers who might think to dump their cargo at the first sign of an Imperial cruiser.
But, you protest, even I get boarded sometimes! It is not his problem, you see. He's just looking out to make that money.
Colon, to me, is a joke. He mysteriously recovered from what ought to have been a devastating, career-ending injury and then just as mysteriously found himself suspended for testing positive for a banned substance? Gee, ya think? Perhaps Colon has a better supplier now; in any case, through four starts, he's sporting a 2.42 ERA. He has issued one walk in 26 innings. That's nothing to joke around about. So, he is a strike-thrower, and perhaps the Orioles lineup will be able to jump over him on the day, if his stuff isn't fooling anyone. Maybe that second time through the order, like yesterday. It's a doozy.
Nolan Reimold plays the part of designated hitter today, which means he will be incapable of hitting in this game. Fortunately, there is the whole rest of the lineup, or at least the parts that aren't J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters as a lefty, or Ryan Flaherty. The fart of the order, indeed - though it didn't hurt them yesterday.
Yoenis Cespedes returns to the lineup for the Athletics after a trip to the DL. He's pretty good.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND ATHLETICS|
|Nate McLouth - LF||Coco Crisp - CF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||John Jaso - C|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Seth Smith - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Brandon Moss - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - C||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Chris Young - RF|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Eric Sogard - 2B|
|Nolan Reimold - DH||Adam Rosales - SS|