Baltimore Orioles vs Oakland Athletics: 5 players to watch

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

Fresh off a 12-3 loss to the Angels, the Baltimore Orioles will face one of the league’s better offenses in the Oakland Athletics.

The Baltimore Orioles are in dire straits, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to turn things around any time soon. One day after being swept out of Anaheim, the Birds are headed north for a showdown with the surprisingly competitve Oakland Athletics.

A year ago, this would have been an even matchup — the teams finished with identical 75-87 records, tying for 12th in the American League. But the franchises have been trending in opposite directions since then, and while the the Orioles are stuck in the mire at 8-23, Oakland is humming along at 15-16. The perennially stingy A’s have turned a $68 million roster into 4.74 runs per game, the seventh-best rate in the entire MLB.

The Orioles have dropped nine straight road contests heading into Friday’s opening game, but after scoring seven runs on Wednesday night, it’s not like their bats have been totally quiet. And what’s more, two of Oakland’s probables for this weekend — Daniel Mengden and Andrew Triggs — are sporting ERAs above 4.50. With any luck, the Birds will get enough timely offense to return to the win column.

The first pitch of the series is set for Friday at 10:05 p.m. ET, while the weekend games will get underway earlier than that. Be sure to check out our full series preview later today. Until then, here are five players who could tilt the balance of the series.