Oakland Athletics’ Series Preview: Coco Crisp Returns to Face Baltimore Orioles


Can the Oakland Athletics Beat the O’s With Crisp’s Help?

The Oakland Athletics are set to take on the Baltimore Orioles in a three-game series, and it comes at a surprisingly decent time for the A’s. Although Oakland has struggled since the All-Star break, they split a two-game set with the Dodgers and are coming off of a pair of wins in a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians.

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The Orioles are six games back in the AL East, and just two games over .500. They’ve won seven of their last ten games, and will send right-handers Tyler Wilson and Miguel Gonzalez to the mound before closing out the series with lefty Wei-Yin Chen. The A’s, meanwhile, will counter with the back end of their rotation: Jesse Chavez, Chris Bassitt and Kendall Graveman.

On the injury front, the A’s expect right fielder Josh Reddick to miss a game or two after straining his lower back in Sunday afternoon’s finale against the Tribe. Reddick made a great catch in foul territory but had to dodge some bullpen traffic to do so, and he was removed from the game at the end of the inning. Meanwhile, Coco Crisp was activated from the disabled list on Monday afternoon, after completing his rehab assignment following two months spent on the disabled list with a sore neck:

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The Orioles are not without their share of personnel changes. Wilson is making a spot start after Baltimore lost Chris Tillman, who rolled his ankle on Wednesday. The O’s also have a newly acquired outfielder in Gerardo Parra, who was a trade deadline acquisition.

Wilson has pitched in five games this season, making just one previous start. He has a 1-1 record with a 2.12 ERA, but his era was 3.00 in his lone start, when he allowed two runs on five hits and a walk in six innings. Gonzalez has been a much more consistent part of the rotation, going 9-7 with a 4.28 ERA in 109 innings. He’s also struck out 81, so he should be a fairly formidable opponent. Chen has been excellent as always, striking out 102 in 125 innings of work. He enters the series with a 5-6 record and a 3.24 ERA.

The Oakland Athletics made a few other roster moves on Monday, sending outfielder Jake Smolinski and reliever Dan Otero to Triple-A Nashville, in favor of Crisp and Arnold Leon. This move was a little puzzling, as Smolinski had gone 8-for-27 with a pair of homers and three walks over his last 15 games, proving to be one of the more valuable hitters on the current team. Smolinski is also one of the only threats against left-handers, a fact that made it seem less likely that he would be sent down.

No roster move has been made yet to accommodate Danny Valencia, who the A’s picked up from the Blue Jays off waivers, but the team did activate Pat Venditte from the disabled list and send the switch-pitcher to Nashville.

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Despite all of the roster turmoil, it should be an exciting series, although the outcome certainly means more for the Orioles. At least Oakland Athletics’ fans have Coco Crisp’s long-awaited return to look forward to. Crisp really had only one good game in five rehab starts, going 4-for-19 with three walks, two homers and three RBIs. All but one hit and one walk came in the same game, so it remains to be seen what kind of impact he may have. He will bat second in the lineup, adding a duel threat behind Billy Burns – if Crisp can stay healthy.

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