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Series #25: Athletics vs Orioles - Sink or Soar?

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Will the A’s ever escape the dreaded .500 record? The world may never know.

At the very least, with the Orioles coming into town, they have a better chance than usual. With a record of 21-50, and a league-worst run differential of -151, the Orioles are still in the “going to get worse before getting better” phase of their rebuild. The A’s and Orioles squared off in Baltimore earlier this season, with the A’s winning three of four games.

Entering this series, the Orioles have lost five games in a row to the Blue Jays and the Red Sox. The Orioles haven’t won a series since April, when they were playing at home against the White Sox. Their team OPS of .702 is bottom-five in the sport, and their team ERA of 5.68 is dead last in the sport. The Orioles do have some bright spots, however, that make the team worth watching day in and day out.

While the A’s won’t have to face him in this series, John Means has been making the most of his opportunity as a starter for the Orioles. After receiving just a taste of the big leagues last season, Means is in his first full year in the majors at the age of twenty six, and to date has pitched seventy innings in twelve starts and has a very impressive 2.67 ERA. He also has fifty nine strikeouts as opposed to just twenty one walks. In the bullpen, Shawn Armstrong, who has quietly put together a quality big league career while playing for the Indians and Mariners, has struck out twenty one batters in just eighteen innings pitched since being traded from Seattle to Baltimore. His ERA currently sits at 1.50.

On offense, Anthony Santander, who has shuttled back and forth between the majors and minors for a couple of years now, has been on fire since rejoining the team a couple of weeks ago. In ten games, he has amassed an OPS of .955 thanks to a newfound ability to reach base via the walk, something he struggled to do in his first callups. Trey Mancini has continued his strong performance at the plate as well, as he is now up to sixteen home runs on the season to go with his .936 OPS. In all likelihood, Mancini will be traded in the next couple of weeks. Former Athletic Renato Nunez has also hit sixteen home runs since being given the opportunity to play every day.

While the here and now is pretty bleak for Baltimore, with properly savvy trades and a solid vision forward, the team could look very different and play very different in just a year or two. But for now, it would be best to kick them while their down and rack up some relatively easy wins before Tampa Bay comes to town.

Potential Lineup

Jonathan Villar - SS

Anthony Santander - LF

Trey Mancini - RF

Chance Sisco - C

Renato Nunez - DH

Rio Ruiz - 3B

Hanser Alberto - 2B

Chris Davis - 1B

Stevie Wilkerson - CF

Pitching Matchups

Mike Fiers vs Andrew Cashner

Brett Anderson vs Gabriel Ynoa

Chris Bassitt vs TBD

Game Information

Game #74: Monday, June 17th at 7:07

Game #75: Tuesday, June 18th at 7:07

Game #76: Wednesday, June 19th at 12:37

All games will be available on NBCSCA.