The Oakland Athletics are going nowhere fast. But they kind of like some of their options in the starting rotation, and one of the pitchers they have some hope for will be taking the ball on Monday night as they play host to the Baltimore Orioles in American League action that is set to begin at 10:05 PM ET at the Coliseum.
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The Orioles are battling for the American League East title, as they try to hold off the Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox. They are currently just a game ahead of Toronto, and this comes after winning five out of their last seven contests, including taking two out of three from the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. The A’s are 16.5 games back of Texas in the AL West with their 48-63 mark. They are also 24-32 at home, so they have not played any better, realistically speaking, when they have had the “advantage” of a friendly park.
Baltimore won two out of three when these teams hooked up back in early May.
This game pits right-handers against each other. The Orioles go with Kevin Gausman (3-8, 4.08 ERA), while the Athletics send Kendall Graveman (7-7, 4.46 ERA) to the hill.
The Orioles are the road favorites, according to the MLB odds that have been established by the good folks at BetAnySports:
Graveman is somebody Oakland believes it can work with. He was struggling back in early June as his ERA had risen to 5.49. But soon after that he started to go to his sinker ball a little more, and the results improved. Graveman only lasted four innings against the Angels last time out, giving up six runs, including a couple of homers.
But prior to that he had gone through a stretch of 59 innings over his previous nine starts in which he allowed just 19 earned runs (2.90 ERA). He is very proficient at producing ground balls, and that would appear not to bode well for the Orioles, who currently lead the majors in home runs. But Graveman only lasted 2-2/3 innings when he faced this opponent on May 8, giving up four homers in the process. And now here come the Orioles, who had five homers on Sunday, including three from budding superstar Manny Machado, who became only the second player in major league history to hit a home run in the first, second AND third inning of a game.
And BetAnySports patrons should know that he is not going to “punch out” many people, as his 5.5 strikeouts-per-inning would attest. And he has induced only 42 swinging strikes over his last eight outings.
Gausman is a guy who is prone to giving up the gopher ball; in fact, his rate per nine innings is sixth highest in the American League. And two starts ago, he allowed three homers in the first inning against Toronto. But Oakland doesn’t exactly play to those weaknesses; the A’s have hit just 46 homers in the Coliseum, and they only scored a total of three runs in getting swept by the Chicago Cubs this past weekend.
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