Oakland, CA – The A’s had three runs in their recent three-game series against the leagues best baseball team. The Chicago Cubs swept Oakland to kick-off the 10-game homestand this past weekend. Losing eight of their nine last games, the A’s are still in last place of their division. But Oakland must stay positive in order to turn things around in this next series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles are in first place of the American League East Division and lead the league in home runs. Third baseman Manny Machado hit three home runs yesterday in each of the first three frames. That’s an example of what this team has been capable of this season. Tonight the A’s host Baltimore for a four-game series before closing with the Seattle Mariners this weekend.
Kendall Graveman takes the mound tonight. He’s 6-1 with a 3.89 ERA over his last 12 starts after going 1-6 with a 5.36 ERA over his first nine starts. Graveman will have to set a new tone for the starting rotation after losing Sonny Gray with a forearm strain in the Cubs series. Gray joins Jesse Hahn who landed on the disabled list this past Friday with a strained right shoulder.
“Before that he was pitching well it’s just his last two starts haven’t been the results he’s been getting recently,” said Oakland manager Bob Melvin said on Graveman’s recent starts. “I still feel like he’s pitching the ball well. With this lineup you’ll have to be pretty careful. You gotta keep the ball down low because they can hit some homers.”
Despite a tumultuous season of injuries the A’s must keep moving forward. Melvin has spent much of the season juggling his starting rotation with players coming up from the minors. It’s been an unusual year of challenges to say the least. Oakland’s offense has struggled in producing hits and driving in runs but that doesn’t mean that things can’t get better before the season ends.
“My first year in the big leagues all five starters took the ball every fifth day,” explained Melvin. “It was the first time since 1966 also confirmed by Bay Area News Group Senior Writer John Hickey. “We’ve unfortunately had multiple injuries so it’s been tough to shuffle and try to keep some consistency to the rotation.”