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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Are the Baltimore Orioles for real? They pulled away to extend their lead in the American League East in the days leading up to the All-Star Break. But, some of that was the rest of the division floundering. The REAL test for the championship possibilities of this team are about to happen in the next few days:

*Baltimore at Oakland Friday thru Sunday

*Baltimore at the LA Angels Monday thru Wednesday

The A’s are the best team in baseball this year. But, the Los Angeles Angels are poised right on their heels because of a red-hot streak in recent days. If Baltimore can hold its own in that six game challenge…then you really can take them seriously as an October threat. But, if they’re outclassed….then you can probably just focus on the A’s, Halos, and Detroit Tigers as World Series material…in an odd year where the AL East fell off the map.

(We should also note that Baltimore visits Wildcard contender Seattle on this extended Western swing, providing another measuring stick…and potentially a challenge so steep that Baltimore falls back to the rest of the pack in its division!)

Baltimore/Oakland is the showcase series this weekend in Major League Baseball. Let’s crunch some numbers!



Baltimore: 4.31 runs per game, .318 on-base, .420 slugging

Oakland: 4.91 runs per game, .328 on-base, .400 slugging

We’ve mentioned often that the Oakland offense has been a juggernaut. Baltimore does have an edge on them in slugging though. And, you can see overall that the Orioles are closer in a composite of on-base and slugging than run scoring would have led you to believe. The Orioles are on the verge of being a juggernaut too. Still, edge to Oakland, because “park adjusted” numbers would still show them as superior.



Chris Tillman: 4.11 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 5.6 K-Rate

Jeff Samardzija: 2.78 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.3 K-Rate

Tillman’s ERA has dropped about a run over the last month or so, which means he’s trending in the right direction. The Orioles need him to pitch like an ace in the coming weeks if they’re going to pull away further in the AL East. Two solid starts in the AL for Samardzija since coming over from the Cubs. But, he only has 10 K’s in 15 innings…which may be a sign that he’s going to be more vulnerable over here in the superior league. Numbers suggest an edge to the host…but those statlines may be inflating the true “real world, right now” differences.



Wei-Yin Chen: 4.15 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 6.5 K-Rate

Jason Hammel: 3.01 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate

Hammel’s numbers are mostly with the Cubs of course. And, his one start with the A’s was an interleague game with San Francisco. So, he hasn’t had to deal with “AL” offenses yet. It will be very interesting to see if Hammel reverts back to his unimpressive AL form in extended time after the acquisition. Chen is kind of guaranteed mediocrity right now…a level that has been overmatched by Oakland bats this season.  



Kevin Gausman: 3.29 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 6.1 K-Rate

Sonny Gray: 2.79 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.7 K-Rate

Good start for Gausman in his seven outings since getting placed in the rotation. But, he’s only lasting 5.5 IP per start, getting yanked before he can get into trouble. Gray is putting up ace caliber numbers this year, and has allowed only two earned runs in 21.2 innings over his last three starts.

On the one hand, tough matchups for Baltimore. But, on the other…those are the guys the O’s need to see something from if they’re going to be a real title contender. Tillman has to be an ace. Chen can’t settle for mediocrity. And, Gausman has to develop into a guy who can go 6-7 innings with quality numbers. The time is now for the O’s to make their case.

The time is ALWAYS now for JIM HURLEY when it comes to winning for his clients! He has several “post-All Star Break” trends and angles in play for this weekend that will yield repeated BIG MONEY opportunities. You can purchase those right here at the website with your credit card every day. If you have any questions, call us in the office 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about early bird rates for football when you call.

Speaking of football, our summer series of college conference previews resumes this weekend with the Big 10. Here’s the upcoming NOTEBOOK schedule…

Saturday: College Football…Big 10 “East” Preview

Sunday: College Football…Big 10 “West” Preview

Monday: MLB Series Preview…LA Dodgers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview…Tampa Bay at St. Louis

Wednesday: College Football…Pac 12 “North” Preview

Thursday: College Football…Pac 12 “South” Preview

That’s Ohio State, Michigan State, and the rest of the newly expanded Big 10 this weekend…and then Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, and what promises to be an exciting Pac 12 a few days later. That will get you geared up for the early season Michigan State/Oregon showdown that could be a Rose Bowl preview.

Check the NOTEBOOK daily for helpful handicapping information, then link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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