When the Orioles and the Athletics take the field today in Oakland, the Athletics will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of their win in the 1973 World Series. Though it may seem impossible to overcome that kind of good karma, it actually turns out that the game will be decided on its own merits, independent of the fact that Reggie Jackson will be in the house.
One thing that will be different as a result of that celebration is there will actually be people in the stands. The Orioles writers already estimate a sellout, 36,000 plus in the crowd, which is a big difference from the sparse groups of faithful that have populated the mausoleum the first two games of the series. This could be a positive because maybe it means we won't have to hear that one idiot with the cowbell and the schmucks who brought in the vuvuzelas. Kind of a novel concept.
With the seven-inning start barrier finally being broken by Wei-Yin Chen last night, can Chris Tillman today break his own barrier of six innings? Actually, he went 6.2 in his last start, which is good, and he is kind of a fly ball pitcher and in Oakland today, which is also good, because it will be harder for the other team to hit home runs off of him. However, the problem for Chris lies in this: the Athletics see more pitches than anyone, and Chris has poor command at times, as evidenced by 11 walks in 20.2 IP. These are hitters who will wait out the walks and hitters who will wait for the mistakes. They've looked like crap in the field and at the plate for the past two games, but when they wake up, and they might today, it'll be bad for someone.
Against A's starter A.J. Griffin, Matt Wieters gets the day off from catching, though he'll still be the DH. That puts an absolutely devastating 7-8-9 combo of J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty, and Taylor Teagarden in the lineup. Well, people need their rest, so we have to deal with this sometimes. Maybe Stacey's boyfriend will heat up at the plate while she is in Europe and not able to see him doing well.
Griffin has thrown a total of 106.1 innings in the big leagues, so making sweeping generalizations about him is probably a bad idea. That said, these are the splits of batters against him: At home: .220/.277/.317. On the road: .256/.300/.413. Yet he only has an ERA half a run higher on the road.
Given that Boston won't stop losing, probably because they're playing the Astros, the Orioles are going to have to keep winning to keep pace. A series win is a lot to ask for in Oakland, but it's there for the taking today. Stay hungry, my friends.
|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||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Brandon Moss - 1B|
|Matt Wieters - DH||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Ryan Flaherty - 2B||Chris Young - LF|
|Taylor Teagarden - C||Eric Sogard - 2B|