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Orioles Review and Preview: Athletics and Angels

After losing two of three at home against Oakland it certainly looks like the Orioles have stumbled their way into another patented late-summer freefall.

Baltimore has now lost four of its last five and has won just seven times since the all-star break. A recipe of spotty pitching and horrid base running contributed to the team's latest series defeat.

The pitching issues should come as no surprise since the team is employing a five-man rotation that has an average age of 24.4 years old. A pitching staff that consists of four rookies simultaneously offers hope for the future while providing struggles in the present.

The bad base running is particularly egregious as many of the gaffes have come from the team's veteran players. In Wednesday's series finale, a 6-3 defeat, Nick Markakis hesitated when given the option to go for a double steal behind Brian Roberts. The indecision cost the right fielder as Oakland catcher Landon Powell threw him out easily.

The blunders on the base paths even showed up in the team's 3-2 victory on Tuesday as Roberts forgot how many outs there were in the inning. As a result, the veteran second baseman attempted to score on a pop out when there were two outs remaining leading to an exceptionally easy inning-ending double play.

The series opener on Monday was just an old-fashioned beating as the A's, who rank last in the AL in batting average and slugging, managed to carve out 16 hits en route to a 9-1 laugher.

Baltimore will look to bail out some water from the sinking ship as they host the Los Angeles Angels, owners of the second best record in baseball (68-44) behind the Yankees (72-63). The Angels hold a 4.5-game lead over the Texas Rangers and, for comparison's sake, are 18 games ahead of Oakland.

Los Angeles is coming off of a three-game home sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays and is a combined 20-9 against the AL East this season with a 5-1 mark against the O's. What's been most impressive about the Angels in 2009 is that they've had to overcome injuries and tragedy.

Los Angeles has played on despite the early season death of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart and has had to deal with injuries to several other starting pitchers in addition to those befalling sluggers Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter. Guerrero is hitting .343 with four home runs and an OPS of 1.080 since returning from the disabled list 10 days ago. Hunter, meanwhile, is expected to return from a strained oblique this weekend.

A fully stocked Angels team does not portend good things for a win-starved Orioles squad.

By CJ Holley  |  August 14, 2009; 12:01 PM ET
Categories:  Angels , Athletics , Orioles  | Tags: Baltimore Orioles, Talking Behind Their Back, los angeles angels, oakland a's, oakland athletics  
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Going up tomorrow night to see a good old-fashioned Orioles beating. Go Nats (and, temporarily, Angels)!

Posted by: yobigc | August 14, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

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