I took the 20-minute walk from my hotel to Camden Yards today, and now I know what a melting ice cream cone feels like. It was very hot and humid, but as we approach first pitch tonight, it’s safe to say the weather could be a lot worse. I’m told yesterday was much worse heat in Baltimore. So we have pretty nice conditions for the opener of this A’s-Orioles series. And who would have thought back in April that this series would be so meaningful? Baltimore sits just 1 1/2 games behind the A’s for the second wild card spot.
A’s — Crisp CF, Gomes DH, Reddick RF, Cespedes LF, Carter 1B, Inge 3B, Norris C, Hicks SS, Weeks 2B; Parker RHP.
O’s — Markakis RF, Hardy SS, Thome DH, Jones CF, Davis LF, Betemit 3B, Reynolds 1B, Quintanilla 2B, Teagarden C; Britton LHP.
The A’s are again being linked to Padres third baseman Chase Headley with the trade deadline just four days away. This ESPN report says the A’s, Orioles, Pirates and Indians all are in on Headley, but that Oakland and Baltimore seem the most aggressive. So perhaps these teams are competing on more than one level this weekend. It’s also worth noting that Omar Minaya, the Padres’ senior vice president of baseball operations, is at Camden Yards tonight.
I’m still of the belief that shortstop remains the A’s top priority for upgrading. Third baseman Brandon Inge is hitting just .211, but he’s contributed 46 RBIs in 59 games since being signed by the A’s on April 30. He’s also a steady defender, and I can tell you that whatever good clubhouse chemistry the A’s have right now — and there’s lots of it — Inge has played a big part in. Figure that the A’s are weighing all of this as they consider whether to acquire a third baseman …