Baltimore will be tested by an Oakland team boasting an 11-game win streak. Will they rise to the occasion?
The Orioles have flirted with a return to .500 but fell short in their last two attempts. If Baltimore plans on accomplishing the task this weekend, it will take a complete performance. Oakland comes to town winners of 11 straight. Here’s hoping for a bit of jet lag.
Game 1: Friday, April 23, 7:05 p.m.
RHP Jorge López (1-2, 8.56 ERA) vs. LHP Cole Irvin (1-2, 4.60 ERA)
The Orioles will send Jorge López to the mound for the first game of the series. López’s 8.56 ERA is a difficult number to hide, but it trumps the 11.42 ERA he held prior to his last start. The righty picked up his first win of the season against the Rangers last week. López limited Texas to two runs and two hits over five innings. He struck out eight and walked just one.
López has always had swing-and-miss stuff, but the 28-year-old remains susceptible to the long ball. López surrendered a pair of homers in his last two starts and five total over 13.2 innings. The Athletics rank second in the American League in home runs with 25. If López makes a mistake, the A’s will capitalize.
Irvin will also look to build off his strongest start of the season, but Irvin’s best looks a tad different than the effort by Lopez. Irvin kept Detroit off the scoreboard for six frames in route to his first win of the year. He scattered six hits, struck out six and did not walk a batter. Irvin lost his first two starts, both against Houston, after surrendering four runs in each contest.
Game 2: Saturday, April 24, 7:05 p.m.
TBD vs. Chris Bassitt (1-2, 4.43 ERA)
The Orioles reduced the rotation to just four starters earlier in the week when they optioned Dean Kremer. O’s skipper Brandon Hyde rationalized the move by pointing to Baltimore’s two off days, and an effort to limit Kremer’s innings. The Orioles had yet to officially list a starter as of Thursday evening, but staff ace John Means appears to be on pace to pitch.
Means dominated his last time out against Texas, but Baltimore failed to take advantage. He received a no decision after tossing seven scoreless innings. Means allowed just three hits, struck out 9 and walked two batters. Means has been everything the Birds could have hoped for after an up and down 2020. His 1.52 ERA and 0.930 WHIP are top of the rotation numbers for any ballclub.
The A’s acquired Bassitt from the White Sox in a deal for Jeff Samardzija after the 2014 season. He holds a career 3.64 ERA and 1.279 over 83 games. Bassitt picked up a win after tossing five innings of two-run ball against Arizona, and followed that with a quality start against Detroit.
Game 3: Sunday, April 25, 1:05 p.m.
TBD vs. TBD
Neither team has listed a starter for the series finale. Matt Harvey would take the ball for Baltimore if the O’s followed suit. Harvey picked up his first win of the season his last time out against the Marlins. Harvey has yet to work more than five innings, but has given Baltimore a chance to win. He allowed four runs in a loss to Boston, but limited the Red Sox and Seattle to two runs over 4.2 innings in a pair of no decisions.