If you’re like me, you’re ready to raise the white flag on the season. After getting swept by the Angels, the Orioles are 8-23 and still haven’t won a road game anywhere other than Yankee Stadium this season. Alas, the games continue, and the O’s will head over to Oakland.
There was a time when facing the Athletics meant instant doom for the Orioles, particularly in Oakland. During a 14-year stretch from 1999-2012, the Orioles never won a season series between the two teams. In that span, the O’s were an unsightly 39-82 against the A’s, including 17-42 at Oakland Coliseum. Granted, almost all of those O’s teams were bad, and many of the A’s teams were good, but still.
The good news is that the Orioles have turned things around against the A’s in recent years. Since 2013, the O’s are 20-14 against them, winning three of their five season series.
The last time the Athletics had a good team was in 2014, when they claimed a wild card spot at 88-74, only to choke away a late four-run lead and lose to the Royals in the wild card game. (If they hadn’t blown that lead, the Royals wouldn’t have been around to beat the Orioles in the ALCS that year. Not that I’m bitter.) Since then, the A’s haven’t won more than 75 games in a season.
The 2018 Athletics are pretty much a middle-of-the-road team so far (that’s not an insult; O’s fans would kill for a middle-of-the-road team right now). The A’s are 15-16 and rank sixth in the AL in runs scored and seventh in team ERA.
Game 1: Friday, 10:05 PM
RHP Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.76) vs. RHP Daniel Mengden (2-3, 4.68)
Since getting off to a good start with the Orioles with a 3.00 ERA after four starts, Cashner has been roughed up in last two outings. His most recent start against the Tigers was his worst yet, as he got chased before the fifth inning for the first time and gave up seven runs (six earned).
Cashner has never pitched in Oakland but started against the A’s twice last year as a Ranger, holding them to three runs in 12 innings. Matt Joyce is sure to be in the lineup against Cashner; he has two homers in seven career at-bats against him.
The Orioles have never faced the 25-year-old Mengden. The only active Oriole who’s seen him is Danny Valencia, who is 0-for-1 with a walk. They’ll need to try not to be distracted by his glorious Rollie Fingers-esque mustache.
Game 2: Saturday, 9:05 PM
RHP Kevin Gausman (2-2, 4.15) vs. RHP Trevor Cahill (1-1, 3.00)
Gausman is quietly having a nice turnaround. After giving up six runs in his first start of the year, he hasn’t allowed more than three in any outing since, and he has lowered his ERA in every single outing (what we call “the reverse Matusz”). The last time he started in Oakland was 2016, and he threw a quality start, giving up two runs in six innings. The only A’s hitter he’s faced for more than 10 at-bats is Joyce, and unlike Cashner, he’s had success against him (2-for-12).
The veteran Cahill is back where his career began as a 21-year-old rookie for the A’s in 2009. His travels have since taken him to the Diamondbacks, Braves, Cubs, Padres, and Royals before he returned to the A’s as a free agent this past winter. He’s won three of his four career starts against the Orioles with a 2.42 ERA. Of the four O’s hitters who have 10 or more at-bats versus Cahill — Chris Davis, Pedro Alvarez, Mark Trumbo, and Adam Jones — all are batting under the Mendoza line against him. They’re a combined 7-for-48 (.146).
Game 3: Sunday, 4:05 PM
RHP Alex Cobb (0-3, 9.68) vs. RHP Andrew Triggs (2-1, 5.20)
The Orioles’ first and only afternoon game of the road trip will give Cobb another shot at his first O’s victory. He looked better in his most recent outing against the Angels on Tuesday, throwing his first quality start. The A’s look like a good matchup for him. In his eight career starts against them, Cobb is 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA. Jed Lowrie, though, has absolutely bludgeoned him, going 8-for-16 with four doubles and a 1.279 OPS versus Cobb.
Remember Andrew Triggs? In the Orioles’ system, he had a dominant year as the Bowie Baysox closer in 2015 and was added to the 40-man roster after the season, but the Birds released him when they signed Alvarez (the first time) in March 2016. Triggs hasn’t exactly gone on to Jake Arrieta-like success since the O’s let him go, but he’s been a mainstay in the Oakland rotation this season.
Triggs has started against the Orioles once, back on Aug. 11, 2016, and the O’s handed him his first major league loss. Weirdly, of the 10 current Orioles who have faced him, nine of them have exactly one hit. I guess nobody wants to go too crazy.
How many games will the Orioles win in this series?
This poll is closed
3 (Orioles will sweep)
0 (Orioles will get swept)