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Orioles on deck: What to watch Thursday at Athletics, plus series matchups

Orioles (56-58) vs. Athletics (50-64)

Where: Oakland Coliseum

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First pitch: 10:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

Starting pitchers: Orioles LHP Wade Miley (5-9, 5.51 ERA) vs. Athletics RHP Chris Smith (0-1, 4.82)

Series matchups

Offense (MLB rank)

Runs per game: Orioles (4.66, 15th); Athletics (4.37, 22nd)

Average: Orioles (.260, ninth); Athletics (.239, 29th)

Home runs: Orioles (163, t-sixth); Athletics (157, 12th)

OPS: Orioles (.750, 15th); Athletics (.736, 20th)

Pitching (MLB rank)

Team ERA: Orioles (4.90, 28th); Athletics (4.66, 23rd)

Starters' ERA: Orioles (5.57, 29th); Athletics (4.66, 17th)

Bullpen ERA: Orioles (3.92, 12th); Athletics (4.67, 27th)

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Fielding (MLB rank)

Fielding percentage: Orioles (.986, ninth); Athletics (.978, 30th)

Errors: Orioles (60, 11th fewest); Athletics (95, most in MLB)

UZR/150: Orioles (-5.1, 26th); Athletics (-11.2, 30th)

Defensive runs saved: Orioles (-11, t-19th); Athletics (-55, 30th)

What to watch

1. West woes. The Orioles have had their struggles on the West Coast in recent years, and are hoping two straight losses at the Angels don't mark the beginning of a longer skid. They head to Oakland to face the cellar-dwelling Athletics, who have lost four of six since a brief stretch of improved play. The Orioles open the four-game series 2½ games out of the second wild-card spot, and have a real opportunity to gain ground in the coming days. Two teams ahead of them — the Angels and Mariners — are also engaged in a four-game series.

2. Better Miley. The Orioles have received some better pitching of late, and Wade Miley has been part of that despite still seeking his first quality start since June 1. Miley has allowed two runs in five innings in each of his past two games after posting a 9.69 ERA over his previous 10 starts.

3. Where are the bats? The Orioles had perhaps the best offense in the American League from the All-Star break through the first game of the West Coast trip, averaging 5.7 runs per game on an .832 OPS in 24 games. Over the past two games, they've scored three runs combined on just 12 hits. Chris Davis is sitting after going 2-for-25 over his past seven games and Joey Rickard is playing a day after getting hit in the helmet. Will the bats be able to wake up against the struggling Athletics?

Orioles lineup

SS Tim Beckham

3B Manny Machado

2B Jonathan Schoop

CF Adam Jones

1B Trey Mancini

DH Mark Trumbo

LF Seth Smith

C Welington Castillo

​​​​​RF Joey Rickard

jland@baltsun.com

twitter.com/JoshLandSun

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