The O’s look to build momentum from their weekend series sweep against the Nationals when the Oakland Athletics come to into town for a three-game set. The O’s completed their second three-game sweep of the year Sunday, the previous being against the Red Sox back in May. The remarkable thing about this sweep, though, was that the O’s trailed in all three games before rallying back to win. They were behind by six, five and three runs, respectively. If you would’ve asked anyone who has followed the O’s, or hasn’t for that matter, if they would’ve been able to come back three days in a row, the answer would’ve been no. I’m not sure what got into them over the weekend, but hopefully that gritty play continues against the A’s, who are also coming off a three-game sweep against the Pirates where they scored 22 runs. They had lost 10 of their previous 12 games prior to sweeping the Pirates.
Tuesday, June 29, 7:05pm
Athletics – Dallas Braden (4-7, 3.83 ERA)
Orioles – Brian Matusz (2-8, 4.95 ERA)
Since throwing a perfect game back on May 9, Braden is 0-5 with a 4.31 ERA in his last eight starts, which is the second-longest winless streak in major league history. In his latest outing against the Reds, Braden allowed four runs (three earned) along with 10 hits in a 4-2 loss. But Braden has done well against the O’s this season going 1-0 with a 1.64 ERA in two starts. Matusz struggled last Wednesday against the Marlins allowing six runs in 6 1/3 innings. He had pitched well in his previous four outings allowing seven runs in 26 1/3 innings, but lost two of those starts and received two no-decisions. He is 1-1 with a 7.15 ERA in two career starts against the A’s.
Wednesday, June 30, 7:05pm
Athletics – Ben Sheets (3-7, 5.01 ERA)
Orioles – Kevin Millwood (2-8, 5.22 ERA)
Sheets is starting in place of Vin Mazzaro in this spot because of the A’s day off on Monday. Sheets received 14 runs of support last Friday against the Pirates and earned his first win in close to seven weeks. He still allowed four runs and eight hits over six innings of work, but did strike out a season-high nine batters without walking anyone. Sheets has struggled this season after not pitching a single game last year because of an elbow surgery that took almost 10 months to recover from. After losing eight straight decisions, Millwood has won two games in a row and looks to make it three against the A’s. He pitched better in his last two outings, but still hasn’t been as good as he was early in the season. He has struggled mightily in June, posting a gaudy 8.78 ERA in five starts. Millwood has faced the A’s 17 times in his career and is 6-4 with a 3.44 ERA in those outings.
Thursday, July 1, 7:05pm
Athletics – Trevor Cahill (7-2, 2.88 ERA)
Orioles – Jake Arrieta (2-1, 6.20 ERA)
So far this season, Cahill has looked like an ace and a potential All-Star. He is 6-0 with a 2.24 ERA in his last eight starts. He was particularly impressive in his last outing against the Pirates, pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing just two hits while striking out 10 batters and walking three. It is just Cahill’s second season in the majors, but he is looking more and more like one of the best young pitchers in the game. Arrieta hopes to follow in Cahill’s footsteps, but is expectedly going through some early growing pains. After pitching well in his first two career starts, he has struggled in his last two, allowing 10 earned runs in just 7 1/3 innings of work. On June 20 against the Padres, Arrieta had the chance to become the first Oriole to win his first three career starts but gave up six runs (five earned) in just three innings in a 9-4 O’s loss.
Submitted by Steve Giles