Talking Behind Their Back: Athletics
A pitiful three-game showing in Oakland put an end to Baltimore's disastrous six-game West Coast road trip.
How bad was the Oakland swing? Cesar Izturis had to have an emergency appendectomy. Felix Pie fouled a ball of his throat. Two starting pitchers failed to make it out of the first inning. The Orioles combined to score just five runs (four came in one game) during the series. Oh, and at no point during the series against the A's did the O's have the lead.
Not too good.
There are two very good reasons why the Orioles struggled out west: pitching and hitting.
The team was outscored 21-5 with starting pitchers Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Berken and Rich Hill being held responsible for 18 of those runs against an Oakland club that entered the series being ranked near the bottom in most major offensive categories.
Baltimore hitters went a combined 20 for 100 for an easily tallied .200 batting average against the A's and just four extra-base hits (home runs from Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold and doubles from Nick Markakis and Adam Jones).
The Orioles hope a trip home to Camden Yards and a nine-game homestand will help right the ship. Greeting them in Baltimore will be the same Seattle Mariners that they dropped two of three against during the road trip.
Baltimore will see Jason Vargas in Game 1. Vargas gave up two runs and eight hits over 5 1/3 innings but picked up a no-decision against the Orioles last Wednesday.
In Game 2, the Orioles will face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez who has allowed a combined three earned runs in his last three starts. Hernandez has also recorded at least one out in the sixth inning in all but one of his 12 starts this season.
The O's could take some solace in seeing Jarrod Washburn again as he was the one pitcher Baltimore beat on their road trip. Unfortunately for the Orioles, he only gave up one run but Baltimore was able to pick up its first 1-0 victory since 2007.
I see the Orioles taking the first game against Vargas to start the homestand off on the right foot but falling by the wayside in the final two games.
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