(Sports Network) - A pair of playoff hopefuls clash Friday at Camden Yards as
the Oakland Athletics open a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Athletics currently occupy one of the final two wild card spots in the
American League and are 2 1/2 games behind Texas for the AL West lead.
Baltimore is three games off a wild card spot and 5 1/2 behind Boston for the
top spot in the AL East.
Oakland will begin a seven-game road trip in Baltimore and just went 4-5 on a
recent homestand, which was capped with two losses in three matchups with the
Seattle Mariners. In Wednesday's 5-3 loss to the Mariners, Oakland blew a 3-1
lead and surrendered four unanswered runs.
Brandon Moss and Coco Crisp both homered and Yoenis Cespedes finished 2-for-4
with a run scored for the A's. A.J. Griffin got the start for Oakland and
allowed four runs in six innings to take the loss.
"Everything that we did today is what's wrong with us," A's manager Bob Melvin
said. "We didn't add on early, we didn't make big pitches when we had to, we
didn't come through in situational at-bats. Ugly, ugly game for us and it's
been going on for awhile."
Oakland addressed its catching depth by trading for Washington's Kurt Suzuki,
who spent the first 5 1/2 seasons of his career with the A's. He is batting
just .223 with three homers and 25 RBI.
Dan Straily tries to end his winless streak when he takes the mound for
Oakland Friday. He is 0-5 with a 4.09 earned run average in his last six
starts and took the loss in last Saturday's 7-1 setback to Cleveland. He
allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings with seven K's and a season high-tying
Straily, a right-hander, is 6-7 in 20 starts to go along with a 4.22 ERA and
lost his only career start against Baltimore last Sept. 16, when he
surrendered four runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-5 loss.
Baltimore has won three of five games since losing four in a row and will
continue a nine-game homestand (3-3) Friday.
The Orioles salvaged the finale of a three-game series versus the Tampa Bay
Rays with Wednesday's 4-2 win behind starter Wei-Yin Chen, who delivered seven
innings of two-run ball for the win. Tommy Hunter later came on to post his
fourth save with a scoreless ninth.
Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 46th home run and Adam Jones went
deep for the 26th time. Nate McLouth was 2-for-4 with a run scored for the
"It was a big win," O's catcher Matt Wieters said. "You'd like to get a
series, but the only thing would could tonight was to win one game. Wei-Yin
threw the ball great and we were able to get enough runs and give him some
Bud Norris will take the mound for the Orioles Friday and he is 3-1 with a
3.91 ERA in five games (4 starts) since coming over via a trade with the
Houston Astros. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA in three career starts
against the Athletics.
The Orioles won three of four games in Oakland from April 25-28 this season.
The Sports Network