Oakland Athletics (54-70 SU, 63-61 RL, 66-54-4 O/U) vs. Baltimore Orioles (60-64 SU, 62-62 RL, 62-59-3 O/U)
MLB: Monday, August 21, 2017 at 7:05 p.m. EST
The Line: Baltimore Orioles -155/Oakland Athletics +145. Total: 10.5.
The Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics will begin a three-game series when they square off at Oriole Park on Monday night. Baltimore has dropped four of its last five contests after most recently losing two of three against the Angels. The Athletics halted a three-game skid by beating Houston on Sunday.
Oakland sitting in last place in the AL West at 54-70 but will have a say in how the AL playoff race plays out with each of its next 15 games against wild-card challengers. The Athletics will try to spoil things for a contending Baltimore team starting on Monday. At the rate designated hitter Ryon Healy is going, they may have a decent chance. Healy is in the midst of an eight-game hitting streak, during which he is a total of 13-for-31.
Right-hander Chris Smith (0-2, 5.26 ERA) is taking the mound for Oakland on Monday. The 36-year-old came out strong with three quality starts in his first three turns of the season but has not been as strong over his last four outings. He is 0-1 with a 7.08 ERA over those last four starts and was reached for three runs in 5.1 innings by Kansas City last Tuesday.
Their own competition
The Orioles squandered a chance to move up in the American League wild-card standings by dropping two of three over the weekend but are poised to bounce back with a long stretch of home games (16 of their next 19). Baltimore fell four games behind Minnesota and the Angels in the race for the second AL wild card after losing to Los Angeles again on Sunday via a 5-4 decision.
“The competition is us,” manager Buck Showalter explained. “It’s us playing better, regardless of who you’re playing. Our competition is Oakland now, and it’s us. There’s opportunity there for us.”
Wade Miley (6-10, 5.21 ERA) will oppose Smith on Monday. The left-hander is getting another chance with the Orioles exploring a six-man rotation and is looking to bounce back after allowing three runs on five hits and three walks in 4.2 innings at Seattle this past Tuesday. Miley has issued at least three walks in seven of his last eight starts and is last among qualifying AL pitchers with a 1.69 WHIP.
The Oakland Athletics are:
- 1-4 in their last five overall
- 16-37 in their last 53 road games
- 2-6 in their last eight games against the American League East
The Baltimore Orioles are:
- 7-3 in their last 10 home games
- 20-8 in their last 28 home games against teams with road winning percentages under .400
- 4-0 in in their last four games that are the first in a series
Smith has been a disaster of late for the Athletics and he did not fare well against Baltimore earlier this month. The righty started vs. the Orioles on Aug. 10 and surrendered a season-high five runs on seven hits, including four homers. Miley, meanwhile, walked three at Oakland on Aug. 10 but allowed only an unearned run and three hits in seven innings of work. Oakland is 1-4 in its last five overall, 16-37 in its last 53 on the road, and 2-6 in its last eight against the American League East. The Orioles are 7-3 in their last 10 at home, 20-8 in their last 28 at home against opponents with road winning percentages under .400, 4-0 in their last four series openers, 5-2 in Miley’s last seven home starts, and 6-1 in their last seven at home against the Athletics. Look for those trends to continue.