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Orioles-Athletics series preview: A chance to shake off the sweep

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After winning their first two series and being swept in their third — all against AL East opponents — the Orioles welcome a less familiar face from the West to kick off a new series.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Reeling from the blowout yesterday that sealed the series sweep for the Yankees, the Orioles will now turn their attention to the Oakland Athletics, who come into town for a four game series starting tonight.

Last year the O’s were 1-5 against the A’s, getting outscored 26-12.

Oakland has shown some pop as a team so far this year, ranking sixth in baseball in home runs with 15, as of this morning. It will be especially important for the Orioles’ pitchers to keep the ball in the park, considering this series takes place at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards, against a power-hitting team like the A’s.

Right now the Athletics’ record stands at 6-7, putting them four games behind the Mariners for first place in the AL West. Bear in mind, the A’s have played a few more games than most teams because they kicked off the MLB season early in Japan this year. The A’s have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games and they have a run differential of +1.

Baltimore currently has a -19 run differential. With a 4-5 record, the Birds sit in third place in the East, behind the Rays and Yankees.

Game 1: Monday, 7:05 PM

RHP Marco Estrada (0-0, 2.76 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

The O’s will see a very familiar face on the mound for the Athletics in the series opener tonight. Estrada spent the past four seasons in the AL East with the Blue Jays before signing with Oakland this past offseason. In 19 career games against the Orioles, including 17 starts, the 35-year-old is 9-3 with a 3.43 ERA and 1.16 WHIP.

On the flip side, it’s fair to wonder which Cashner the Birds will get on his third trip to the mound. Will it be like his first start when he allowed six runs over four frames? Or more like his second where he pitched six shutout innings?

From 2016-2018, Cashner has only started four games against Oakland and his stat line in those starts includes a 6.75 ERA and .300 BAA. At this early juncture of the 2019 season, the right-hander has allowed seven walks versus six strikeouts over 10 innings. And the Athletics, as a team, have the second most walks in the AL so far this season with 40. Pitcher control will be a big factor in this one.

Game 2: Tuesday, 7:05 PM

LHP Brett Anderson (2-0, 2.38 ERA) vs. LHP John Means (1-0, 1.59 ERA)

After bouncing around between the Rockies, Dodgers, Cubs and Blue Jays from 2014-2017, Anderson came full circle and returned to his original club, Oakland, last year. Talent has never been a question with this lefty — but health has been. In 10 seasons (not including this year) Anderson has made 30 or more starts only twice — 31 in 2015 and 30 in 2009.

In two career starts at Camden Yards, the left-hander is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA and 1.60 WHIP. In his first start this season, against the Angels, he threw six shutout innings. In his second start, against the Red Sox, he gave up two runs in 5.2 innings.

Young Oriole left-hander John Means will get his first career start in game two against the Athletics. He’s made three appearances out of the bullpen so far this year, putting up a 4.50 SO/W ratio through 5.2 innings of work while flashing an impressive change-up. In 19 starts in Triple-A last year, Means had a 3.48 ERA and 1.28 WHIP.

Game 3: Wednesday, 7:05 PM

RHP Frankie Montas (1-1, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (0-0, 3.18 ERA)

After having his season delayed by a groin strain, Cobb made his 2019 debut on April 4 and showed no ill effects from the injury. Against the Yankees, he gave up two runs over 5.2 innings with five hits, one walk, four strikeouts and two home runs allowed. It will be important for Cobb to perform in a similar fashion against the A’s, because the Orioles bullpen has been highly overworked in the early going this year.

For his career, Cobb has a 2.18 ERA in 10 starts (62 innings) against Oakland, along with a 1.17 WHIP and 2.38 SO/W ratio.

Oakland’s starter, Montas, has been involved in multiple trades that included big name players over the course of his career. In 2013, he went from the Red Sox to the White Sox as part of the Jake Peavy trade. After a pit stop with the Dodgers, he came to the A’s as part of the Josh Reddick/Rich Hill trade in 2016.

In 13 appearances last year, including 11 starts, Montas went 5-4 with a 3.88 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. He’s made two starts so far this year, including a win where he allowed one run over six innings and a loss where he allowed two runs over five innings.

Game 4: Thursday, 12:35 PM

RHP Aaron Brooks (1-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (0-0, 7.36 ERA)

The O’s need to at least get more length out of Bundy, seeing as he’s pitched only 3.2 innings in his first two starts this year. In four career games against Oakland, Bundy is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Hopefully his SO/W ratio in this upcoming start is closer to the 7.00 career mark he holds against Oakland, as opposed to the 1.29 current season figure.

Oakland will send the big right-hander Brooks to the mound in the series finale. He’s had an interesting career path so far, throwing a couple innings with Kansas City in 2014 and 2015 before being traded to the A’s mid-year. After the 2015 season, it took Brooks two years in the minors before he made it back to the bigs.

The 28-year-old has had one good start and one bad start this year. The good? Six shutout innings. The bad? Five runs in five innings. He has pitched exactly one inning against the Orioles in his career, in which he allowed a solo home run and struck out one batter.

Poll

How many games will the Orioles win in this series against the Athletics?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Four (clean sweep)
    (12 votes)
  • 5%
    Three
    (12 votes)
  • 40%
    Two
    (84 votes)
  • 37%
    One
    (77 votes)
  • 9%
    None (swept? not again!)
    (20 votes)
205 votes total Vote Now