Series Preview: Orioles vs. Athletics, 6-8 June

Adam Jones and the Orioles seek to begin a new winning streak against the A's - Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles return from a road trip to tackle with the Oakland Athletics. See YOU at the Yard!

Friday, 6 June (7:05pm) - Wei-Yin Chen vs. Tommy Milone
2014 Stats Chen (6-2)
Milone (3-3)
IP 63.1 60.0
ERA 4,26 3.60
FIP 3.57 4.22
AVG/OBP/SLG Against .292/.323/.451 .240/.309/.382

Game notes: The Orioles host the Athletics for the first time since dealing the team closer Jim Johnson in the offseason.  He's had a rough start to the season and is not currently functioning as the closer, but remains in the bullpen.  The O's return on that trade, Jemile Weeks, currently resides in Norfolk.  Wei-Yin Chen will start this game for the Orioles fresh off a victory in Houston.

A reason to watch: Not at all baseball related, but on this day, 70 years ago, thousands of brave men stormed the beaches at Normandy (or parachuted in behind them) to protect our freedom and ensure that we could eventually spend our time watching baseball games for fun.

Scouting report: A L-L matchup in this game as former Washington Nationals property Tommy Milone starts for the Athletics.  He's 3-3 with a 3.60 ERA over the 2014 campaign.  He throws various fastballs, a curve, and a change.  Milone certainly isn't known for his velocity, which tops out in the mid to upper 80s.  The changeup was his best pitch in 2013, but he's struggled with it in 2014, as hitters mash it with an OPS right around .900.

Saturday, 7 June (7:15pm) - TBD vs. Sonny Gray
2014 Stats TBD
Gray (6-1)
IP - 80.2
ERA - 2.45
FIP - 3.34
AVG/OBP/SLG Against - .219/.291/.322

Game notes: Manny Machado bobblehead night - gates open at 5pm for season ticket holders and 5:30pm for the rest of you commoners without status!  The Orioles starter is currently TBD, as the scheduled starter (Chris Tillman) ended up pitching last night instead.  Well, he allegedly threw some pitches, but if you tuned in after the 2nd inning, you probably didn't notice.

A reason to watch: Sonny Gray returns to Camden Yards.  Trivia for the morning - Gray has allowed an OPS against over .800 to just one team out of 13 he's faced over his relatively short career.  Which team is that?  Yep, it's the Baltimore Orioles.  He made on start at OPACY last season and was chased before the game was 4 innings old.  That said, he's one of the game's top young pitchers.

Scouting report: As mentioned, Gray makes his second start at Camden Yards.  He gets a lot done without incredible control (3+ walks per 9 innings), but he's got decent strikeout numbers and gets the grounders.  Fastball velocity hangs right around 93, a pitch he combines with a curveball, changeup, a slider, and a cutter.  His curve has been phenomenal and he's recorded an OPS against of .224 when tossing it.

Sunday, 8 June (1:35pm) - TBD vs. Scott Kazmir
2014 Stats TBD
Kazmir (6-2)
IP - 75.0
ERA - 2.40
FIP - 3.01
AVG/OBP/SLG Against - .215/.265/.309

Game notes: We all know the real #stafface.  It's TBD!

A reason to watch: It's easy to get annoyed with Nick Markakis for his incredible lack of power, but his .363 OBP puts him 5th in the league among qualified RFs.  The names ahead of him?  Jose BautistaGiancarlo StantonYasiel PuigJayson Werth.  Can't complain if he keeps that company all year, especially in the leadoff spot.

Scouting report: Scott Kazmir continues his huge return to being a quality MLB pitcher.  He had some excellent years with Tampa back in the early 2000s, then disappeared due to injuries, etc.  He's back in a big way this season.  His control has been great, his groundball rate is almost 50%, and just 7% of fly balls leave the park.  He switched to throwing mostly a two-seam fastball last season and has continued this season.  He also throws a slider, curve, and changeup.  His velocity is down to right around 90 MPH this season, but it hasn't seemed to hurt his performance.

Maybe hot: Nick Markakis (1.148 OPS, 27 PA)

Maybe not: Chris Davis (5K in 10 PA, .422 OPS)

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