Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles Preview and Pick – Gio Gonzalez vs. Bradley Bergesen

Oakland Athletics (24-23) Gio Gonzalez, at Baltimore Orioles
(15-32) Bradley Bergesen, Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md., 7:05 PM
EST, Thursday, May 27th, 2010

by Badger of Predictem.com

Betting Line: As -120/Orioles +110
Total: 9

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The Oakland Athletics finally got the monkey off their backs on the
road and now theyll try to take just their second road series of the
season when they face the Baltimore Orioles in a Thursday night
rubber match at Camden Yards.

The As snapped their six-game road losing streak Wednesday night
with a 6-1 victory, fueled by an Adam Rosales three-run homerun in
the first inning that staked the visitors to a 4-0 lead before
starter Trevor Cahill even took the mound. Rosales shot also ended
the As seven-game homerless streak, the longest draught without a
big fly in As history since 1983.

Since the Orioles won Tuesdays series opener 5-1 behind a strong
outing by Jeremy Guthrie, Thursdays finale is for all the marbles
and will feature two youngsters when the As throw lefty Gio Gonzalez
against the Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen.

Oddsmakers released the overnight line with the visiting As and
Gonzalez as slim -120 favorites on the moneyline and the number has
held for the most part, although there are a few offshore sportsbooks
that have since moved the number up slightly to -125. The Orioles can
be found as high as +110 at casinos that offer dimelines.

The over/under total opened at 8.5 overnight, and was quickly moved
up to 9 across the board at all of the sportsbooks on the Web within
hours of the initial release.

The short -120 odds on Oakland with Gonzalez pitching smells a little
fishy, especially when you break down the pitching matchup further to
find both of these hurlers have been on opposite sides of the ledger
all season.

Gonzalez has pitched outstanding for a youngster nearly all season
long with just two exceptions in losses to the Yankees and Texas
Rangers. His lines in those two games werent terrible (4.1 IP, 3 H,
5 R vs. Yanks; 4 IP, 9 H, 4 R vs. Texas), but the rest of his nine
starts this year (As 5-4 in his starts) have been quality ones where
hes given up three runs or less.

His last outing versus the San Francisco Gants in interleague play
was by far his best, when he threw an 8-inning, two-hit shutout in a
1-0 As victory. In fact, it was much like Gonzalezs first and only
start against these same Orioles last year, where he gave up a few
more base runners (7 H, BB) in his six innings but was still perfect
on the scoreboard (0 R in a 9-1 As win). Nick Markakis and Matt
Wieters both hit doubles against Gonzalez in that game, but that was
both players only hit in an 1-for-3 game against the lefty, so Im
sure Gonzo would take that outcome every time.

In the other dugout, Bergesen has had a rocky year right from the
start and it only appears to be getting worse. He opened the year
getting tagged, was sent down to Triple A for a short stint which
seemed to get things straight, only to start getting tagged again his
last couple of outings and hes just not missing too many bats.

His last two games versus Kansas City (6.1 IP, 10 H, 4 R) and
Washington (5 IP, 11 H, 6 R) tell you the story of why he has allowed
an alarming .385 on-base percentage, an ugly 1.77 WHIP and an average
of 5.8 runs per game.

Bergesen has never faced the As so they will all be getting their first looks at the righty, which may be a slight advantage to the
Os, but for how long is the huge question.

There are several other strong trends that favor the As as well.

The As have owned the Orioles the past few years (14-3 since 2008),
but who hasnt? They also like to be rude guests, running up a 17-4
record at Camden Yards over the last decade.

The Orioles might regain the services of DH Luke Scott in the finale
tonight. Scott sat out the first two games nursing a sore shoulder,
but with rain forecasted as possible the Os might choose to sit him
one for night.

Badgers Pick: Its very hard for me to find any reason to back the Orioles in this game. Gonzalez is clearly better on the bump, and
although Oakland has struggled to score runs lately, Im fairly sure
theyll get some good looks at Bergesens cheese tonight. Take
Oakland at -120.