Oakland 8, Baltimore 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
You can't complain too much about an 8-1 win -- and there were a bunch of good things to take away from the game. However, most of the good performances need to be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. Not only are the Orioles the worst team in the AL, their lineup last night, especially the pitchers they used, were barely major league quality.
The one unqualified success was, yet again, Trevor Cahill. He went seven innings, giving up just one run on four hits, and although he struckout just four, he also walked just one batter and 13 of the 20 balls hit off of him were grounders. His only mistake was to Corey Patterson to lead off the game, who doubled and came around to score on two productive outs. After that, Cahill allowed just one batter to reach second base. Somewhat surprisingly, Cahill has turned into the A's most reliable starter as he's allowed more than three runs just twice this year in 13 starts. He, and maybe Gio Gonzalez, are the only two guys that when they take the mound I feel the A's have a good shot at winning, no matter how poorly the offense performs.
As for those hitters, on the surface it looks like the A's had a good day at the plate. They roughed up the Orioles for 8 runs on 15 hits and walked 5 times. Cliff Pennington and Ryan Sweeney each had four hits (seven singles) and Jack Cust doubled twice and drove in two runs. Obviously 21 baserunners is a good thing, but almost all of the damage was done against O's starter Jake Arrieta and Frank Mata, a pair of pitchers who started the year in the minors. Arrieta, despite being a pretty good prospect, has struggled mightily so far in his brief major league career and Frank Mata has more or less proven he doesn't belong in the big leagues.
It's good to see the A's taking care of business and going 5-1 against the Pirates and O's. I guess for all my disappointment for the A's falling out of the AL West race, these last two series provided a good reminder that things could be (much) worse.