Break time is over, and now the grind begins anew. The Orioles open up after the All-Star Game with a ten game West Coast road trip that starts tonight in Oakland. 10 o'clock start times are rather unfortunate for those of us on Eastern time.
For the Orioles, what's unfortunate is that they have to face the team with the best record in baseball, opposing a starter who's been among the best in baseball this year.
Here's the part where we hope that all of the general trash talk of the National League has some value. If Samardzija's numbers mean less because he hasn't faced "real" hitters, that makes this all look much less daunting. The Athletics traded one of the best prospects in all of baseball to get him. One ESPN guy suggested the Orioles should part with Kevin Gausman to get him themselves.
So far this year, Samardzija is getting ground balls over 50% of the time, walking fewer batters than ever, and giving up home runs at a lower rate than either of the last two years. That will translate to career best results, for sure. So will going to the cavernous Oakland stadium, where this game will take place.
Samardzija has never faced the Orioles. The most he's seen any Orioles batter is Nick Hundley, who he's faced seven times. Hundley is not in the starting lineup.
RHP Chris Tillman, Orioles
2014: 20 GS, 118.1 IP, 4.11 ERA, 74 SO, 48 BB, .251 BAA, 1.39 WHIP
Last start (vs. Yankees): 6.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Tillman on the road this season has been somewhere around the intersection of Suck and Failure. He has a 5.20 road ERA, and yet, the Orioles score a bunch of runs for him on the road, so he has won games. It makes no sense. He should not count on that tonight against Samardzija, although the same favorable park and conditions will be there for Tillman as well, so at least that's something. Provided he doesn't walk people by the boatload, or give up home runs like they're going out of style.
Only John Jaso has faced him for 10+ plate appearances, and he's also not in the starting lineup tonight.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||OAKLAND A'S|
|Nick Markakis - RF||Coco Crisp - CF|
|Steve Pearce - LF||John Jaso - DH|
|Adam Jones - CF||Yoenis Cespedes - LF|
|Nelson Cruz - DH||Brandon Moss - RF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Josh Donaldson - 3B|
|J.J. Hardy - SS||Stephen Vogt - 1B|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Jed Lowrie - SS|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Derek Norris - C|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Andy Parrino - 2B|