Following a series split against the Yankees, the Orioles begin their next road trip by heading out to Oakland to play a three-game set against the A’s.
The Orioles just saw Oakland earlier this week, when they snapped the Athletics’ 13-game win streak. The Birds will have John Means on the mound in game one, followed by Matt Harvey and Bruce Zimmermann.
The Birds will see Mike Fiers for the A’s, who is making his first start of the year. In games two and three, the A’s will send out Jesús Luzardo and Sean Manea.
Here are the Baltimore Battery’s Keys to the Series!
1. John Means… that’s it
Not much more has to be said here. The Orioles’ success in this series weighs heavily on John Means. Another quality start and a win in game one can wear down that Oakland offense and give the Orioles momentum. So far, Means has been one of the best starters in the American League. He holds a 1.50 ERA, which is only behind Danny Duffy and Carlos Rodon. With a .90 WHIP, Means has done very well at keeping runners off base, and that will be imperative in his start against a great contact offense like the A’s.
2. Situational hitting must be more important
The Orioles’ offense has still been very aggressive, and it somewhat has relied on the long ball. Playing in Oakland, that simply won’t do any good. The offense must make the A’s starters work more than in the last series, as that bullpen is very hard to get to. The offense must see more pitches and find ways to get the ball into the holes in that giant outfield and generate base runners. If the Orioles can muster up 8 to 10 hits, they will have much more success due to the chances that will bring with runners in scoring position.
3. Bullpen, keep doing your thing
The best thing about the Orioles, besides John Means, is the bullpen. With a few starters that are not as likely to shrewd a lineup like Means, the bullpen has been, and will need to be, a saving grace. With a 2.86 ERA so far, the Orioles bullpen has been very good. One downfall to a lot of the bullpen arms is their tendency to give up the home runs. Playing in Oakland will definitely help with that. Keeping the ball down and giving César Valdez good situations to enter the game will bring a lot of success for the Orioles.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups for game one:
Oakland Athletics (16-10):
1. Mark Canha LF
2. Ramón Laureano CF
3. Jed Lowrie DH
4. Sean Murphy C
5. Matt Chapman 3B
6. Mitch Moreland 1B
7. Stephen Piscotty RF
8. Elvis Andrus SS
9. Tony Kemp 2B
SP. Mike Fiers RHP
Baltimore Orioles (11-14):
1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Austin Hays LF
3. Trey Mancini DH
4. DJ Stewart RF
5. Ryan Mountcastle 1B
6. Rio Ruiz 3B
7. Pat Valaika 2B
8. Chance Sisco C
9. Ramón Urías SS
SP. John Means LHP
Tonight’s game is available on MASN2 and the flagship station of the O’s, 105.7 The Fan. First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. EST.
How do you feel about this series? Let us know in the comments, and do not forget to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!