Major League Baseball
Orioles-Athletics preview
Major League Baseball

Orioles-Athletics preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 5:45 p.m. ET

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After losing three consecutive one-run games to the Oakland A's, the Baltimore Orioles will try to salvage one win and avoid a sweep on Thursday afternoon in the series finale at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Orioles, despite their offensive slumber, have to like their chances with right-hander Chris Tillman on the mound against the A's.

Tillman is 14-4 in 25 starts, has at least twice as many wins as any other Orioles starter and is tied for fourth in the major leagues in victories. His 3.50 ERA doesn't rank among the American League leaders, but his winning percentage of .778 is fifth best in the league.

"He goes out there and battles whether he has his best stuff or not his best stuff," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said. "I think that's why his record is what it is. I think in today's day and age with statistics, people can overlook the wins and losses, which I think is ridiculous, because that's what we play for, first off, and second, he has the ability even when he doesn't have his great stuff to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win.


"And when he has his good stuff and has all four (pitches) going, then he gives us a chance to win no matter how our offense is doing."

Tillman downplayed talk of him being the Orioles' ace or the anchor for a rotation that struggled early in the season but is rounding into shape.

"We're all together as a group," Tillman said. "We feed off each other. Everyone's just as important as the next guy. I think we've been pitching better as a team."

Tillman has usually been at his best against the A's. He's 3-0 with a 2.58 ERA in six career starts vs. Oakland. He held the A's to three runs over 6 1/3 innings in an 11-3 victory on May 8 at Camden Yards.

Tillman and the Orioles will see a familiar face on the mound for Oakland, right-hander Andrew Triggs. Baltimore acquired Triggs from the Kansas City Royals on April 4, 2015, for cash, and he spent that season pitching for Double-A Bowie.

Triggs went to spring training with the Orioles this year, but he was waived, and the A's claimed him on March 13.

"We were trying to keep him this spring," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Triggs. "He's a good pitcher. That's a good claim by them.

"He's a smart guy, can sink the ball, has multiple ways to get you out. He was a good guy in the spring. We just didn't have room for him. We knew somebody was going to take him."

Triggs has spent most of his professional career as a reliever, but he will make his second start of the season for the A's, whose rotation has been decimated by injuries. Triggs (0-0, 5.35 ERA) is in his eighth stint with the A's this season and will make his 20th appearance. He pitched a perfect inning in relief against Baltimore on May 7, striking out three.

"It's fun," Triggs said of the chance to start against the Orioles. "I was there all last year in the minor leagues and then through most of spring training. It's a fun opportunity.

"With the way things work and the way rosters shift, things don't always work out the way you expect them to, but I've got nothing but positive experiences from my time over there. They were the first team to really give me an opportunity by adding me to the 40-man roster last offseason. Everybody over there, from field staff, front office to other players, were fantastic. So I've got really fond memories of my time over there."

In his past four stints with the A's, Triggs has a 2.30 ERA over nine appearances, including one start. He got a no-decision on June 18 in a 7-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing one run over three innings in a spot start.

"He pitched really well for us in spring training," Tillman said. "He's fun to watch. He was one of the guys I've worked out with in the offseason, threw with him in the offseason. We got to know him pretty well. He's a really good guy."

Triggs will face an Orioles lineup that has scored a combined three runs in the three losses to Oakland.


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