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Monday night Orioles game thread: at Athletics, 9:40

If you’re staying up late to watch Spenser Watkins pitch for the Orioles, well... we both need a little help, don’t we?

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

It’s been a strange first week and a half or so of the 2022 season. Orioles pitching has been largely better than advertised while the offense has been unbelievably terrible, dropping off at a pace way larger than the whole league’s offense has done.

This is definitely something afflicting other teams, as evidenced just this past weekend when the Orioles took two of three from the $245 million Yankees, holding them to six runs in three games, including the Easter Sunday shutout. The Yankees are OPSing .677 as a team and that’s still the sixth-best mark in the American League. They lost two to the Orioles despite the O’s being so much worse at .597. Even over a nine-game sample size, how do you have a team OPS of .597? It’s absurd.

The Orioles opponent tonight, the Oakland Athletics, have hit closer to Yankees level than Orioles level. They’re at a .667 OPS as a team, though this has not stopped them from scoring the most runs of any other MLB team to date. A small part of that is because Oakland has played ten games while many other teams have only played nine, but still, it stands out.

Tonight’s game is actually going to be the first home game for the Athletics this season. The cavernous Oakland stadium is a pitcher’s park even in high-offense years, so things could get truly ridiculous tonight with whatever is going on with players and equipment already baked into 2022 numbers and now the O’s are about to play four games there.

Maybe I’m just offering hopes for a short, low-offense game because I’ve got recap duty and as it is this game is starting at 9:40. If the Orioles take 3:24 to play nine innings, as they did in their 2-0 home opening victory, I’m going to be a grumpy dude. Except if they win, then I’d be a little less grumpy.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  3. Anthony Santander - LF
  4. Trey Mancini - DH
  5. Rougned Odor - 2B
  6. Ramón Urías - 3B
  7. Austin Hays - RF
  8. Anthony Bemboom - C
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

Until Orioles who aren’t named Santander start hitting, there are basically no exciting lineup configurations. All I can do for now is look at Odor in the #5 spot and think, ouch. This is not great! But it feels like a number of players are due for a breakout based on batted ball data, especially Mancini. Maybe tonight will be his night.

The Orioles starting pitcher is Spenser Watkins. I hope his defense treats him better in this start, and that he’s able to pitch better overall. I don’t actually have all that much hope about either of these things.

Athletics lineup

  1. Tony Kemp - LF
  2. Elvis Andrus - SS
  3. Sean Murphy - C
  4. Billy McKinney - 1B
  5. Christian Bethancourt - DH
  6. Seth Brown - RF (no known relation)
  7. Sheldon Neuse - 2B
  8. Kevin Smith - 3B
  9. Cristian Pache - CF

I gotta tell you, I am not sure that I would have been able to tell you that any one of these guys was on the Athletics. A few of them I might not have recognized as major league players at all. Part of this is a function of I am most involved in AL East rosters because the Orioles play other AL East teams a lot. Another part of it is the extreme tear-down the Athletics underwent in the leadup to this season.

One Athletic I have heard of is Frankie Montas, tonight’s starting pitcher, if only because there was a lot of talk that he would be traded before the season. Montas, a 29-year-old righty who will be a free agent after next season, remains in Oakland for now. He had a 3.37 ERA in 32 starts last year. Pretty good! And a bad sign for the Orioles offense having a breakout, as if playing out in Oakland wasn’t enough of a bad sign for that.