Not so Good Lately

The Oakland Athletics haven't been playing particularly well in the last week. Left fielder Jack Cust, however, is having his best stretch at the plate.

Cust and the Athletics open a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday in Oakland.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Oakland -137 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Oakland -137 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.

The Athletics (19-14) have lost four of their last six, including two of three games to Texas over the weekend. Cust hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as the A's avoided a sweep with a 3-1 victory Sunday.

Cust has three homers in the last four games, and is batting .458 over the last seven. He opened the season hitting .155.

"I made a minor adjustment and I feel better," Cust said. "Last year I started 0-for-18, then got hot and then I was in the majors with Oakland. It's crazy how things work out sometimes."

Oakland hopes he can continue hitting well to help overcome the rest of the team's inconsistency on offense. Although the A's have scored the third-most runs in the AL with 159, they have been held to three or fewer runs in five of their last six games.

Like Oakland, Baltimore (16-15) has cooled off after a hot start. The Orioles lost two of three to the Angels over the weekend and have lost four of their last five overall.

Nick Markakis and Melvin Mora each homered for the Orioles on Sunday, but Steve Trachsel allowed six runs and seven hits in just three innings of a 6-5 loss.

"We didn't have good shutdown innings," first baseman Kevin Millar, who had two hits and two RBIs, told the A's official Web site. "We scored two, they scored four. We scored one, they scored two. You've got to have a shutdown inning and we didn't today, so we lost."

Baltimore looks to avoid its third straight loss Monday when it sends Garrett Olson (1-0, 2.70 ERA) to the mound. Olson, who joined the rotation in place of injured starter Adam Loewen, took a shutout into the seventh inning against Tampa Bay on Tuesday, and finished having allowed two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. He walked five, but struck out six in the 7-4 win.

The left-hander made seven starts last year and went 1-3.

"I can tell you Olson showed improvement from the last time we've seen him," manager Dave Trembley said. "He made some big pitches when he had to, but his mound presence, his poise, his ability to make big pitches was good for him and good for our team."

Olsen has never faced the Athletics.

Oakland will counter with Dana Eveland (3-2, 3.67), who struggled on Wednesday against the Angels, allowing six runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 6-1 loss. Eveland hasn't made it out of the sixth inning in four straight starts. He said he felt some discomfort his elbow while warming up for the second inning, but after being looked at, he remained in the game.

The left-hander has never faced the Orioles.

The teams split eight games last season, with the Orioles winning two of three at Oakland.
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