There have been so many strange features about the 2014 season for the Baltimore Orioles. Among these is the difficulty the O’s have faced with winning games at home. They finally put themselves in positive numbers over the final homestretch, as their 52-42 record breaks down to 26-23 at home and 26-19 on the road.
Another strange feature is the number of times the Oriole were pretty much shut down effectively by young, rookie pitchers that they had not seen before. But the Birds were able to beat Masahiro Tanaka, Justin Verlander, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, R.A. Dickey, and Mark Buehlre among others.
So, maybe it is a good thing that the Orioles start out the final 68-game push on the road, facing the best team in baseball (by current record) in the Oakland A’s, doing so in their total crap stadium, and seeing Jeff Samardzija throw against them. (I’ll be honest – I’ve never typed his name before and I pasted it into the article! I wonder how old he was before he learned how to spell his last name.)
Samardzija has, of course, recently come to the A’s from the Chicago Cubs, after having had a tremendous start to his 2014 season. At the time of the trade, he was 2-7 with a 2.83 ERA. In his two games with Oakland he is 1-1, giving up only four runs on nine hits in 15 innings.
However, over the six full seasons with the Cubs from 2008-2013, he was a combined 29-35 with a 4.19 ERA and WHIP of 1.355. These are not terrible numbers, since they were done with, yes, a terrible team; but they are, at best, rather ordinary.
But the news for Oakland batters against Baltimore Orioles starter Chris Tillman is not much better. They are a combined 7-for-49 (.143), and Tillman is 1-0 over 18.1 innings against the A’s with 18 strikeouts. For the season, Tillman is currently 7-5 with a 4.11 ERA in 20 starts.
The series will also feature the first reunion of Manny Machado with the A’s since the infamous bat-throwing incident. What will that be like? I’m guessing it won’t amount to much, other than some heckling from the handful of fans who show up in Oakland and sit a country mile away from the action.
I’ve always said, “Good teams find a way to win, and bad teams find a way to lose.” So it is time for the Baltimore Orioles to demonstrate that they are a good team by beating the best. And it would be nice to see one Chris Davis put this team on his back and carry them for a while.