Beleaguered Orioles turn to 'opener' against A's

The Baltimore Orioles will try the "opener" thing in hopes of helping young left-hander Josh Rogers when they attempt to avoid a three-game series sweep at the hands of the host Oakland Athletics on Wednesday afternoon.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde announced Tuesday night that he will go with right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis (1-1, 5.40 ERA) for an inning or two in the series finale before switching over to Rogers (0-0, 7.88).

"The way our pitching is, you kind of never know," Hyde told reporters before Tuesday's game, referring to the day-to-day status of his starting rotation. "We're keeping him (Yacabonis) available (for Tuesday's game), but best-case scenario, he will pitch (Wednesday)."

If by "best-case scenario" Hyde meant a 16-2 loss to the A's on Tuesday, then he got what he wanted as the Orioles lost their seventh straight in the second game of the series.

Other than a solo home run by Jonathan Villar, the only good news for the Orioles on Tuesday was that Hyde didn't have to use Yacabonis, who had thrown two innings of one-hit relief in the series opener Monday.

The A's teed off on Orioles pitchers Gabriel Ynoa, Paul Fry and Dan Straily for a season-best six home runs in the rout.

By starting Yacabonis, Hyde said he is hoping to neutralize Oakland's predominantly right-handed-hitting lineup. If the ploy gets counterpart Bob Melvin to start a couple of his lefty hitters, all the better for Rogers, who in five career appearances has given up a .339 batting average to righties, but just .250 to lefties.

Rogers has pitched just twice this season, including 3 2/3 innings on April 10 at home against Oakland in a game in which he gave up five runs and four hits. He faced right-handed-hitting Khris Davis twice in that game and served up home runs each time.

Melvin noted before Tuesday's game that he might have benched his right-handed-hitting shortstop, Marcus Semien, more in the past. But he continued an impressive season in the middle game of the series with his team-leading 84th hit and team-leading 49th and 50th runs scored, while watching his average settle in at .280 at night's end.

"I used to lead him off against lefties and not righties," Melvin noted. "Now we're comfortable leading him off (against either). He sets the table for a lot of guys. You see the RBI through the lineup. A lot of it has to do with him being on base quite a bit."

Right-hander Chris Bassitt (3-3, 3.68) will hope the A's didn't leave all their power at the ballpark Tuesday night when he shoots for his first win this month.

After an impressive start to the season, Bassitt has gone 0-2 with a 4.67 ERA in three June starts.

He's 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two career starts against the Orioles.

The A's, who lost two of three to Seattle to start a 10-game homestand, will be attempting to record their third home sweep of the season. They went 3-0 against Texas in April and 3-0 against Seattle in May.

--Field Level Media
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