Orioles Drop Series Against Athletics Before AL East Battle

The Baltimore Orioles returned home to Camden Yards to face the Oakland Athletics for a weekend three-game series. The Orioles drop two out of three games due to blown saves by closer Craig Kimbrel. Both losses in the series came from a one-run deficit of 3-2 in game one and 7-6 in game three. This is something that the Birdland faithful were surprised to witness. The mighty Orioles losing a series against the laughing stock of the league in the Athletics. Luckily the A’s just won two games against the Orioles’ next opponent, the New York Yankees. 

What’s Going on with the Bird

Orioles’ closer Kimbrel only threw eight strikes in his two appearances in the series allowing three earned runs and walking four batters. Manager Brandon Hyde has cited that Kimbrel was dealing with lower back stiffness which could have led to the control issues. After giving up a two-run homer to Kyle McCann, Kimbrel’s time in the series was over. Kimbrel’s ERA has ballooned to 3.18 from its 0.82 mark before the season. The lack of bullpen success has hurt the O’s in the past couple of series, but the team doesn’t seem too concerned about it. 

Staying Hot 

First baseman Ryan Mountcastle has found his groove in this series. Mountcastle went 4-12 with a home run and 3 RBIs in the series. The platoon of Mountcastle and O’Hearn has been working wonders for the O’s. The Ryans have a combined OPS+ of 168 which is far above league average. Cole Irvin tossed two gems in his last two appearances. In the win against the Athletics Irvin pitched seven innings only allowing four hits and striking out five batters. Irvin has a scoreless streak of 13.2 innings as well. With Irvin finding his stride the Orioles’ starting pitching is finding some stability.

A Heavyweight Bout 

Round one of the battle for the AL East crown begins Monday night when the New York Yankees come into town. The Orioles are currently one game behind the Yankees for first place. The early-year contest will give the O’s the advantage in the division if they can win the series. Grayson Rodriguez will toe the slab in game one, as he is looking to bounce back from a rough outing against the Angels. Rodriguez leads the starting rotation with a 10.8 K/9 rating which will play a big factor when facing the Yankees lineup.  With the bats clicking and a Yankees rotation that is prone to giving up hits, the offense can jump on their starting pitching early, and rattle the Yanks. Let the battle begin and the Birdland faithful be as loud as ever. 

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