Chris Bassitt

A's need to maintain momentum following three-game sweep of Orioles

A's need to maintain momentum following three-game sweep of Orioles

OAKLAND -- After losing two of three to the last-place Mariners, the A's desperately needed to get back on track. Lucky for them, the Baltimore Orioles were coming to town.

Oakland finished off a three-game sweep of the league-worst Orioles with an 8-3 win Wednesday afternoon. For the series, the A's outscored the O's 27-7.

The question now is whether Oakland can build off this momentum and go on an extended run.

"We'd like to be able to sustain it," said manager Bob Melvin. "We had the one 10-game winning streak where everything was hitting on all cylinders and we were playing really well, and then we couldn't follow it up. We lost five in a row after that. So we have to sustain it."

To this point, it has been a roller coaster of a season for the Green and Gold. Every time the A's seem poised to push well past the .500 mark, they have stumbled.

"We're a team of runs so far this year, which is kind of weird," said Wednesday's starting pitcher Chris Bassitt. "I feel like we lose a couple and then win a whole bunch. We've just got to maintain this and maintain consistent work every single day -- don't really go to the extremes of pressing. We're a great team."

The A's have failed to climb more than four games over .500 all season, achieving that mark on May 27 with a record of 29-25. Now at 39-36, they'll have a chance to push past that hurdle with the Tampa Bay Rays visiting the Coliseum for a four-game weekend series.

"Just keep playing our game," said catcher Josh Phegley. "I think we put pressure on ourselves to do well sometimes and I felt like we just were comfortable this series and kind of trusted that our offense was going to be there. Our pitchers kept us in the game. They gave us some good starts. I feel like that's just kind of a confidence-builder."

Designated hitter Khris Davis agreed with Phegley's assessment.

"Absolutely. It gives us momentum and we want to hold onto that."

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Of course, last season the A's went on a remarkable run right around this time, finishing the season 63-29 after starting 34-36. While that type of stretch will be difficult to repeat, the team knows it has that capability.

"We've been on some runs before with this group of guys, so I know they're looking forward to getting as many games over .500 as we can," Melvin said. "We have a really tough team coming in, and we've got them for four, so we're going to have to play well."

A's vs. Orioles lineups: Chris Bassitt starts on the bump, Mark Canha in left

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USATSI

A's vs. Orioles lineups: Chris Bassitt starts on the bump, Mark Canha in left

The A's hope to continue a winning streak against the Orioles as they conclude a three-game home series on Wednesday.

The O's have decided to go with a first-time career opener in Jimmy Yacabonis. Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde did tell reporters prior to Tuesday's game that when it comes to the team's pitching "you kind of never know." 

Good luck with that. 

The Orioles lost a seventh straight game in Tuesday's 16-2 loss to the Green and Gold, so they're looking for Lady Luck to be on their side and take advantage of the team's mostly right-handed lineup. 

Baltimore will face Chris Bassitt, who seeks his first win of the month following a tough start against the Mariners on Monday. He finished his outing by walking four batters, raising his alarming recent walk total to 15 in his last five outings.

Here are how the lineups look to play out in Oakland. You can follow the action on NBC Sports California or by downloading and streaming on the MyTeams app:

Baltimore Orioles (21-52)

Jonathan Villar (SS)
Anthony Santander (RF)
Trey Mancini (1B)
Chance Sisco (C)
Renato Nunez (DH)
Rio Ruiz (3B)
Hanse Alberto (2B)
Stevie Wilkerson (LF)
Keon Broxton (CF)

Jimmy Yacabonis, P (1-1, 5.40 ERA)

Oakland A's (38-36)

Marcus Semien, SS
Matt Chapman, 3B
Matt Olson, 1B
Khris Davis, DH
Ramón Laureano, CF
Mark Canha, LF
Stephen Piscotty, RF
Chad Pinder, 2B
Josh Phegley, C

Chris Bassitt, P (3-3, 3.68 ERA)

A's struggles against Mariners, last-place teams could prove costly

A's struggles against Mariners, last-place teams could prove costly

OAKLAND -- One of the most impressive parts of last year's A's team was the way they beat up on bad teams. This season has been a completely different story.

Following their 9-2 loss to the last-place Mariners on Friday night, Oakland fell to 3-5 against Seattle on the season and just 9-9 against last-place teams in baseball. And that doesn't even include the A's 0-6 mark against lowly Toronto, currently 25-44 on the season and only out of last place thanks to the horrific Baltimore Orioles.

If the A's end up missing the postseason by a game or two, some of these losses could prove to be their undoing.

"We're chasing some good, good teams," said Friday's starter Chris Bassitt. "We just can't give any games away, and unfortunately, I kind of feel like I did tonight."

At 35-35, the A's are fortunate to still be well in the mix for a wild-card berth, just 2 1/2 games behind Texas for the second spot in the American League. But these types of uninspired losses against poor competition have to stop.

For whatever reason, the A's have really struggled to play good baseball against the Mariners this season. After losing the first two games of the season in Tokyo, Oakland dropped two more in Seattle last month. The A's did bounce back to sweep the Mariners later in May, but once again looked shaky in Friday's blowout loss.

"Everybody in the big leagues is going to give you a challenge and we just didn't play well enough to win the game tonight," said Oakland manager Bob Melvin. "(Seattle) won the first four games (against us) -- two in Tokyo and two at their place -- and then we ended up sweeping them (last series). Coming off a road trip with a day off, we'd expect to do a little better today. We just didn't. So come back out with a little better effort."

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The A's still have a chance to win this series against the Mariners, but now there's no margin for error. Right-hander Frankie Montas will get the ball Saturday, followed by Tanner Anderson on Sunday. Oakland could really use two wins.