The Oakland Athletics have been the Baltimore Orioles’ nemesis on the West Coast for many years now. 2013 broke the streak of the A’s winning the season series since 2007 when the teams split eight meetings.
The Orioles had eight consecutive seasons where they lost the season series before the 2007 split. The Athletics always dominated, and I remember watching games in Oakland where the Orioles could not win at all.
The Athletics have outscored the Orioles 18-10 in three games in Baltimore, including an 11-1 blowout. The Orioles’ ERA comes out to 5.86. The Athletics pitched to a 3.10 ERA, which held the Orioles below their favorite number of four runs a game.
Oakland’s pitching staff has only gotten better since they were in Baltimore. The game already played, and the remaining two will play an important part in showing the Orioles how they need to play to make the playoffs.
With Friday night’s loss, the Orioles can still split the season series, which will be the first time since the mid-nineties that the Orioles have not lost the season series in consecutive years against Oakland.
The Athletics are not a divisional opponent, but with the tough September schedule, the Orioles need to win these matchups against West Coast teams to be fully ready when they enter September.
The Athletics are a very good baseball team that is already set for the post season pending a collapse in the second half. The Orioles head to Anaheim to face the Angels after this series, so coming out of Oakland with confidence is a necessity.
These games are more important than ever with the scheduling in September and proving that the Orioles are a championship team that can beat other division leading teams.
The Orioles need to treat these games as playoff games, because without that mindset now in the second half, there will be no postseason to have those thoughts in October games.
The Orioles have a losing record to only five teams this season. Three of those five losing records sit at one game below .500, except for the Detroit Tigers, which sits four below through six games, and Athletics, which sits at two below.
The series the Orioles have remaining are key games. Every game outside of the division is going to play a vital part when deciding the division winner.
The second half is going to be different for the Orioles as they lead the division, rather than trailing. The games played outside of the division not only prepare them for September, but also prepare them for October.
The tougher games are going to test the Orioles, and they cannot just sit back and wait for the September games to take the division. The Orioles need to come out and beat these teams now to show they are built for the postseason.
The Orioles made the playoffs in 2012, but now they need to do some damage in October and the Athletics and Angels will test Baltimore’s readiness.