Game 128: Athletics (71-56) @ Orioles (69-58), 4:05

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles pick up their chase for a wild card spot Saturday afternoon against the Athletics. The game will be on FOX. Sorry if you're out of market. Chris Tillman starts for the O's, with Jarrod Parker starting for the A's.

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The soft-tossing lefty curse has been avoided for the weekend. After Friday night's victory, the hope for a sweep can still be there. The Saturday game is not an auto-loss due to facing a left-handed pitcher with a sub-90 mph fastball. It is also not an auto-win, nor is it a must-win, but it is a game where if the Orioles do not win, the must-win games will be approaching in a hurry.

They'll be facing Jarrod Parker on this Saturday afternoon, who is an Athletics pitcher with a better ERA on the road than at home. How does that even happen? He has given up 18 home runs this season, 12 of which came on the road. As a righty, Parker has a little more struggle against lefties. This is the part where Chris Davis should hit a home run or two just for fun.

Davis has a double and two home runs off Parker in nine at-bats. Adam Jones is 4-8 with a home run. Nate McLouth is 4-5 with a home run. These are some small and possibly meaningless samples, but they are what we have today. Across the whole Orioles team, there have been 59 plate appearances against Parker, and the collective batting line is .353/.397/.667.

Could you go ahead and hit like that today, O's? That would be just fine.

Chris Tillman is starting for the Orioles, taking his latest stab at getting his 15th win of the season. Sometimes his bullpen has let him down and sometimes his offense has let him down and sometimes he has let himself down. Like Parker, he also pitches better on the road, but of course Tillman will be at home today, where he sports a 4.48 ERA. Speaking of home runs, he has allowed 26 on the year and 20 came at Camden Yards. Expect more today, because that's Tillman in a nutshell.

No one on Oakland has faced Tillman more than five times, so there is even less to glean from history there. Tillman has curiously reverse splits in the sense that he has better results against left-handed batters this season than right-handed ones. Lefties have a .713 OPS against Tillman (which still isn't great for his "better" side) and righties have a .781 OPS.

Basically, it makes no sense that Tillman has an ERA below 4, something that I've felt all season just from watching him pitch. Whether it's luck or skill that aids him, hopefully that doesn't start to fail him today.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES OAKLAND ATHLETICS
Nate McLouth - LF Coco Crisp - DH
Manny Machado - 3B Jed Lowrie - SS
Chris Davis - 1B Josh Donaldson - 3B
Adam Jones - CF Brandon Moss - 1B
Matt Wieters - C Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Nick Markakis - RF Josh Reddick - RF
J.J. Hardy - SS Chris Young - CF
Ryan Flaherty - DH Eric Sogard - 2B
Brian Roberts - 2B Kurt Suzuki - C

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