Series Preview: Athletics vs. Orioles

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The O’s managed to win one against Toronto but still lost the series. They also lost the series against Seattle. They also got swept by the Athletics in Oakland. The Orioles really need to WIN a series here and even more, sweep a series. They’re 5 games under .500 and now 7 games back in the AL East and slipping further and further every game. I feel like this is a big series for the O’s that they really need to take.

PITCHING MATCH-UPS:
Monday June 6: LHP Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 2.49 ERA) vs. LHP Brian Matusz (0-0, 1.59 ERA)
Gonzalez is definitely the A’s best pitcher and in his last appearance against the O’s this season, he threw 5 innings allowing 5 hits, 2 runs (1 unearned) with 5 walks and 7 strikeouts. He got the win in that game but it’s not a dominant outing and the O’s could have won the game if they took better advantage of the walks and hits they did get. In his most recent start, he went 6 1/3 innings giving up 5 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, and 4 strikeouts in which he got the loss.

Everyone knows the story with Matusz. He just got off the DL and has had one start so far in which he went 5 2/3 innings giving up 4 hits and 1 run with 0 walks and 3 strikeouts. He got the no decision but if he went longer, he would have gotten a win. Tonight, I’m feeling a dominant start from him as his first time on the mound back at home in Camden Yards. He’s going to go deep into the game tonight and get the win.

Saturday: RHP Guillermo Moscoso (2-1, 3.21 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Jakubauskas (0-0, 6.39 ERA):
Moscoso also pitched against the O’s in Oakland going 5 innings giving up 5 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, and 1 strikeout in the win. In his most recent start, he received a loss pitching in relief against the Red Sox going 2/3 inning giving up 2 hits, a run, and a walk. He also pitched the night before in relief, going 2 1/3 inning giving up 2 hits but no runs. His last outing as a starter was against the O’s.

Ohhhh Jakubasukas. He is clearly not a starter and has been called up, sent down, and called back up this season from Triple-A-Norfolk. Because of the 4-man rotation the Orioles are currently using, he is filling in to give Arrieta an extra day’s rest. His last outing was in relief against Toronto on Friday where he pitched 2 innings giving up 2 hits and no runs with 2 strikeouts. He pitched on May 19 against the Yankees for 3 1/3 inning in which he gave up 7 hits and 3 runs with 2 walks. Hopefully he looks more like his form against Toronto than against the Yankees.

Wednesday June 8: LHP Josh Outman (1-0, 4.02 ERA) vs. LHP Zach Britton (5-4, 3.33 ERA)
Outman’s one win as a starter came against the Orioles (of course, right?) He went 6 innings giving up 6 hits, 2 runs, 5 walks, and 2 strikeouts. That was on May 28. His only other outing between then and now was in relief on Friday against Boston in which he pitched 2 and 2/3 innings and he gave up 5 hits, 5 runs (4 earned), with a walk, and 2 strikeouts. It will definitely be interesting to see what he does for the 2nd time as a starter against the O’s.

Britton takes the mound again. He’s lost 3 straight decisions. He has to snap out of it as he’s the one we’ve been relying on the most this season. He needs a come-back dominant start. I’m hoping for a 7 or even 8 inning outing of 2-run ball or less. In his last outing against the Jays he went 5 innings, giving up 6 hits and 7 runs (5 earned) with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Against Oakland, he had his worst start of 5 2/3 innings of 10-hit, 6-run ball with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts. Come on Britton, get it together!

WHO’S HOT:
Baltimore Orioles:
Mark Reynolds: I’ve been waiting a long time to put him here. He’s only batting .190 and even worse, .143, in the last 7 days going just 3 for 21 BUT those 3 hits are all homers, including his first career grand slam along with 6 RBIs.
Adam Jones: With the highest batting average on the team at .299 and the most RBIs at 31, AJ is hot. In the last week, he’s hitting .450 going 9 for 20 with one homer and 2 RBIs as well as 2 runs scored. He will not be in the lineup on Monday with his sore shoulder.

Oakland Athletics:
Josh Willingham: He’s hitting .286 in the last week, going 6 for 21 with 2 runs scored, 3 doubles, his 10th homer of the season, and 4 RBIs. He hopes to play Monday coming off of an injury, but isn’t sure.
Cliff Pennington: In the last week, he’s hitting .294 going 5 for 17 with 2 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 RBIs, and 2 walks.

WHO’S COLD:
Baltimore Orioles:
Nick Markakis: He’s only hitting .167 in the last week with 2 RBIs, no doubles, no runs scored, no homers, and no walks.
Luke Scott: Going just 2 for 14 in the last week, he’s hitting a miserable .143 with no runs scored, no doubles, no homers, no RBIs, and 2 walks.

Oakland Athletics:
Kurt Suzuki: Hitting .125 in the last week, he’s only gone 2 for 16 with 2 runs scored and a walk.
Hideki Matsui: His average in the past 7 days is a miserable .067 going 1 for 15 with an RBI and a run scored.

Baltimore Orioles Injury Updates:
P Justin Duchscherer: He is expected back in possibly June and should be pitching 5 exhibition innings tomorrow.
SS Cesar Izturis: He had surgery on May 24 because of nerve irritation in his right elbow. He could be back in August.
2B Brian Roberts: With concussion-like symptoms, he is scheduled to see a specialist tomorrow but there is no timetable for his return.