OAKLAND -- The A’s go for a series win over the Orioles today and, given the fact they lost Saturday night, might have the right pitcher starting for them today in Sonny Gray.
Gray has had some of his best outings this season following A’s losses -- he has made seven starts after a loss, going 5-1 with a 1.48 ERA in those games. In only one of them has he allowed more than two earned runs, and all seven have been quality starts.
"He’s a guy that wants to be out there, whether it’s big games, postseason, and that probably runs along with the theme of being a guy that goes out there after a loss and expects to win for their team," manager Bob Melvin said.
The Orioles, though, have given Gray trouble in his early career. Gray has faced them twice, both times in Baltimore, and lost both times, allowing 11 runs on 12 hits in 8 2/3 total innings. Gray is in the midst of a four-game winning streak, though, and is 3-0 in July having allowed two earned runs in 21 2/3 innings, so something has to give.
Here’s the A’s lineup today behind Gray:
And the Orioles lineup behind right-hander Kevin Gausman:
* Alberto Callaspo (hamstring strain) played catch on the field before today’s game and will expand baseball activities in the next couple days. Melvin said Callaspo is "coming along at pretty much the pace we expected."
* Melvin said he talked with Josh Reddick (hyper-extended knee) this morning and that Reddick "feels good" while rehabbing with High-A Stockton. "He had a couple of plays on the bases where he’s had to test (the knee), he’s had a couple throws he’s had to come in and make where it bit him a little last time. So he feels great right now."
The A’s expect to re-evaluate Reddick after he plays for Stockton today, and it sounds as though Reddick could rejoin the team Tuesday against Houston or shortly thereafter.
* Eric Sogard gets just his second start since July 3. The lack of playing time has made it tough on Sogard to establish any rhythm at the plate -- he has one hit in his last 16 at-bats and is batting .186 for the season. Melvin said Sogard has remained upbeat through those struggles and eager to contribute.
"He’s been a guy that has contributed over the last couple years for us, and when he gets hot he gets really hot," Melvin said. "He can put together some 15-for-30 streaks and his defense is always there. Hopefully this is a game where he can springboard himself to get a little more confidence at the plate and get some more at-bats."
* The right-hander Gausman is making just his eighth start for the Orioles this season, but his second against the A’s. He faced Oakland on June 7 in Baltimore and allowed one run on four hits in seven innings with six strikeouts.
Melvin’s recollections from that game: "He’s got a big arm and he’s a tall guy (6-foot-3) that throws downhill. When he’s down in the zone with his fastball it means the ball’s not in the hitting zone very long. We saw the fastball from 92 to 98 last time, and he’s got a two-seamer where he tries to sink the ball."
The A’s lone run off Gausman in that game came on a Coco Crisp home run. Crisp is in the lineup today for the third consecutive day, a positive sign as he deals with lingering neck pains.