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Orioles-Athletics series preview: The lefties come to Baltimore

The Orioles will face lefty starters in the first three games of the four game series against Oakland.

MLB: APR 09 Yankees at Orioles Photo by Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orioles have lofty goals in 2023. The Birds must hold their own against divisional opponents if they hope to reach the postseason, but they also must take advantage of the winnable games on their schedule.

After dropping two out of three against New York, the Orioles will host Oakland for four games at Camden Yards. The Athletics are 2-7 on the season with both victories coming by just one run. These are the types of games that Baltimore cannot afford to squander.

Game 1: Monday, 6:35, MASN

Starters: RHP Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. LHP JP Sears (0-0, 5.79 ERA)

The Orioles would have likely signed up for a 2-0 record and a 4.50 ERA from Kyle Gibson through two starts. Whether or not that should be the expectation for an Opening Day starter remains a conversation for another day, but Gibson has mostly lived up to his reputation so far this season. Baltimore wants the 35-year-old to keep the team in games, and the righty has done that through two. He should be able to keep the A’s in check for five or six innings on Monday.

The Athletics will start lefties in the first three games of the series. The trio, paired with New York starter Nestor Cortes, played a part in the Orioles optioning Kyle Stowers and keeping Anthony Bemboom on the roster. Some fans believe Stowers deserves to start against lefties, while others wish Baltimore would have selected Franchy Cordero over Stowers for the Opening Day roster. Either way, the Orioles will now battle left-handers without Stowers or Cordero.

Sears allowed three runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings against Cleveland. Oakland went on to beat the Guardians 4-3.

Game 2: Tuesday, 6:35, MASN

Starters: RHP Grayson Rodriguez (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. LHP Kyle Muller (0-0, 2.53 ERA)

Speaking of Opening Day roster decisions, the Orioles sparked plenty of debate when they elected to leave Grayson Rodriguez out of the rotation. Rodriguez quickly joined the Orioles after an injury to Kyle Bradish and mostly impressed during his first big league start.

Rodriguez allowed a pair of runs in the first but followed with four scoreless innings. He allowed four hits, struck out five and walked one in his MLB debut against Texas. This start against Oakland represents a tremendous opportunity to prove he belongs and dissuade Baltimore from sending him back to Norfolk.

Kyle Muller shined in both of his starts this season. He limited the Angels to just one run over five innings on Opening Day and kept Cleveland to two runs over 5.2 frames last week. The 25-year-old still has his rookie status intact after appearing in 12 games for Atlanta.

Game 3: Wednesday, 6:35 MASN

Starters: RHP Dean Kremer (0-0, 10.13 ERA) vs. LHP Ken Waldichuk (0-2, 14.54 ERA)

Dean Kremer has yet to build on a strong 2022. Boston chased the righty in the opening series, and Kremer allowed four runs in five innings against the Yankees. The Athletics did not score in their last two games, so the matchup represents a great opportunity for Kremer to get back on track.

Waldichuk’s 17 hits and 14 earned runs led the league at the time of this writing. The 24-year-old rookie should settle in eventually, but the Orioles hope it happens a little later this season.

Game 4: Thursday, 1:05, MASN

Starters: LHP Cole Irvin (0-2, 9.35 ERA) vs. TBD

Cole Irvin will battle his former team after the O’s acquired the lefty for prospect Darell Hernaiz. Irvin went 9-13 with a 3.98 ERA and 4.21 FIP in 30 starts for Oakland last season. The lefty earned a reputation for working deep into games, but he needed 101 pitches to complete 4.2 innings against New York last week.

Rookie Shintaro Fujinami could take the ball for the Athletics. The Japanese right-hander has struggled early this season.


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

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    4 (Orioles sweep)
    (61 votes)
  • 51%
    (119 votes)
  • 17%
    (41 votes)
  • 2%
    (6 votes)
  • 1%
    0 (Orioles get swept)
    (3 votes)
230 votes total Vote Now