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Game Thread #97: Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles

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Jason Hammel makes his second start for Oakland tonight. He faces one of his former teams, the Baltimore Orioles, with Wei-Yin Chen on the bump.

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Game two of this three-game set between the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles starts at 6:07 pm tonight following last night's dramatics:

The A's lead the season series 3-1 with two games to play and wouldn't it be nice to lock that down tonight?

Jason Hammel (8-6, 3.01, 18 starts) makes his second start for the Athletics tonight. On July 9, Hammel pitched five innings and gave up three runs (two earned) and six hits, including one home run, against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Hammel pitched for the Orioles in 2012 and 2013.

Hammel is opposed by the left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (9-3, 4.15, 18 starts). Against the Athletics on June 6 at Camden Yards, Chen pitched 6⅓ innings of five-hit two-run ball, both on solo home runs. He wound up with no decision as the Orioles lost 4-3. From Alex Hall's series preview:

Chen is a finesse lefty who has dominated the A's in four career starts -- 1.00 ERA in 27 innings, with 16 hits, 25 strikeouts, and eight walks. However, he's only got a 4.15 ERA so far (95 ERA+), and he's giving up a ton of homers; the A's will need to swing the bat to beat him because he won't give in and issue free passes (1.6 walks per nine innings).

1989 World Series Reunion

Fans at today's game will be treated to today's 1989 World Series Reunion ceremony. A pre-game on-field ceremony is underway, and 15,000 fans received a 1989 Throwback T-shirt. Here are some interviews with the '89 team about that magical season:

Part 2 includes excerpts of interviews with Mark McGwire, Walt Weiss, Terry Steinbach, and Bob Welch:

The '89 players and the current team are wearing "BW" patches on their jerseys in memory of the late Bob Welch.

Today's Lineups

BALTIMORE ORIOLES OAKLAND A'S
Nick Markakis - RF Coco Crisp - DH
Steve Pearce - LF Craig Gentry - CF
Adam Jones - CF Yoenis Cespedes - LF
Nelson Cruz - DH Josh Donaldson - 3B
Chris Davis - 1B Derek Norris - C
J.J. Hardy - SS Jed Lowrie - SS
Manny Machado - 3B Brandon Moss - RF
Nick Hundley - C Nate Freiman - 1B
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Nick Punto - 2B

Brandon Moss is the only one batting lefty-on-lefty against Wei-Yin Chen tonight. Just one catcher in the lineup, with John Jaso and Stephen Vogt on the bench joined by Eric Sogard as left-handed options. Andy Parrino also sits, he is a switch-hitter.

Notable notables

Fun facts from today's Oakland Athletics Game Notes (pdf).

  • The 60-36 start is the fourth-best start in Oakland history. It trails the 1971 team by two games. Victory tonight would tie the team for third-best start.
  • Last night's win was their seventh walk-off victory of the season. It was the 10th when trailing after seven innings and fifth when trailing after eight.
  • A's starting pitching has a 3.15 ERA for the season, which is the second lowest in the majors, behind only the Dodgers, the same Dodgers that have thrown two no-hitters this year.
  • The victory last night extended the team's home winning streak to seven. The A's have won 12 of their last 13 home games.
  • Sean Doolittle has 14 saves, three short of the Athletics record for saves by a left-handed pitcher, set by Alan Embree in 2007. He has thrown 466 of 627 pitches for strikes (74.3%), which is the highest strike percentage in the majors (min. 100 pitches). His 6 of 65 (9.2%) career inherited runners scoring is the lowest percentage among active relievers (min. 50 innings in relief).
  • Stephen Vogt's .348 batting average is the best in MLB among batters with 100 or more plate appearances.
  • The bullpen has issued just 10 walks over its last 26 games and 84 innings.
  • Fernando Abad has thrown eight straight scoreless outings over 7.0 innings pitched. He has stranded all 16 of his inherited runners, which is the most in the AL without allowing one to score.
  • Ryan Cook has thrown nine straights scoreless outings over 8⅔ innings pitched.
  • While Luke Gregerson's 8 of 19 (42.1%) inherited runners scoring is still the sixth highest percentage in the AL, he has stranded seven of his last eight runners.
  • Dan Otero is tied for the Major League lead in wins among relievers (7) and is third in innings pitched (55⅔).
  • Since 2000, only one A's outfielder has more assists than Yoenis Cespedes' 12, Josh Reddick with 15 in 2012.
  • Josh Donaldson's 21st home run is three short of this career high from last year.
  • Nate Freiman, tonight's starting first baseman, has a 55-game errorless streak dating back to May 9, 2013. It is the ninth-longest errorless streak in Oakland history by a first baseman.
  • Derek Norris' ninth home run of the season matches his career season high.