American League Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, July 18
(All times eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (52-42) at Oakland Athletics (59-36), 10:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Chris Tillman (7-5, 4.11)
Oakland - Jeff Samardzija (3-8, 2.78)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles and the Oakland Athletics have
both earned contender status in the American League, and they'll begin the
second half of the season against one another in the opener of a three-game
set Friday night at O.co Coliseum.
Oakland (59-36) made it to the All-Star break with the best record in the
majors, while Baltimore (52-42) finds itself with a four-game lead atop the
American League East.
The Orioles have won 10 of their last 13 and entered the break in first place
for the first time since 1997. Most recently, they took two of three from the
"We have a goal of going out and winning the division this year," Chris Davis
said. "We wanted to kind of control our own destiny. We're definitely in the
driver's seat right now and hopefully we can keep it going."
This marks the beginning of a 10-game road swing for the Orioles, who will
also face the Angels and Mariners during the trip.
Oakland set a franchise record with 59 victories before the All-Star break.
The team sent six players to this week's All-Star game, not including newly
acquired starter Jeff Samardzija, who was selected to represent the NL before
being traded from the Chicago Cubs to Oakland on July 5. Yoenis Cespedes
defended his Home Run Derby title, joining Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players
ever to do so.
The A's have won six straight and 11 of their last 12 at home.
Samardzija gets the start for Oakland in Friday's series opener. He is 1-1
with a 2.40 ERA in two starts for his new team. He went the distance at
Seattle last Friday but ultimately was out-dueled by Felix Hernandez.
Samardzija took the loss as he allowed three runs on five hits to go along
with five strikeouts.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman has posted a 2.47 ERA over his last seven starts
but has earned only two wins in that span due to spotty run support. He has
posted a quality start in six of his last seven outings, although he took a
loss against the Yankees his last time out after giving up three runs over 6
"I think (I'm) getting better," Tillman said. "I had a rough start, but it's
not how you start; it's how you finish. I think we are only getting better as
a pitching staff. It's been fun to show up every day and watch these guys go
to work, so I'm happy with the fact that it's getting better."
There is some bad blood between these two teams stemming from a pair of bench-
clearing incidents earlier this season. Both incidents were sparked by Orioles
third baseman Manny Machado, which earned him a five-game suspension. Oakland
took two of three at Baltimore from June 6-8.
07/18 10:44:37 ET