Series Preview: Pirates vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD — Coming off a four-game split with the Red Sox, the Baltimore Orioles look to end their current homestand on a positive note against the Pittsburgh Pirates. After a seven-game losing streak, the Birds have rebounded at Camden Yards, going 4-3 in their last seven games against both the Red Sox and Yankees.

The Orioles came back to life after suffering their longest losing streak since the 2011 season. The O’s will try to keep their positive spin going in this two-game series with the Pirates (26-31), who currently sit in fifth place in the National League Central Division. However, they are only three and a half games back behind the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, who are currently in first place in the NL Central with a record of 29-27.

Over the weekend, the Bucs took two of three from the Mets in New York.

With the split with Boston, the O’s (29-26) remain in third place in the American League East, 3.5 games behind the first-place Yankees (32-22). The Red Sox (31-25) are just two games behind the Yanks. 

More on this series: The two-game set at Camden Yards is just the first half of the four-game season series between Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Orioles and the Pirates will reconvene in the final week of the regular season with another two-game set, taking place at PNC Park on September 26 and 27.

Last Meeting: These two teams have not met in the regular season since 2014, which is of course the year the Orioles won the AL East for the first time in 1997. That year, the O’s swept the Bucs in May at Camden Yards by scores of 5-1 and 6-5 in a doubleheader. Three weeks later, the two teams split a two-game series in Pittsburgh. The Orioles won the first game, 9-2, and the Pirates won the latter, 9-8.

Game times & pitching matchups: 

Game 1Tuesday, June 6, 7:05 pm – Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Wednesday, June 7, 7:05 pm – Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Pirates:

  • Andrew McCutchen has a .500 batting average against the Orioles in his career, with 18 hits in 36 at-bats.
  • Second baseman Josh Harrison is the top offensive performer for the Bucs this season. Harrison is hitting .308 in 208 at-bats, recording 64 hits, 10 doubles, a triple, seven home runs, and 18 RBI. Harrison’s status for this series is up in the air, as he left Saturday’s game with a calf injury, keeping him out of Sunday’s game.
  • Nova is without question the top pitcher in Pittsburgh’s rotation. He is the only Pirate starter with an ERA below 3. In 11 starts, Nova has allowed 25 earned runs on 77 hits and 40 strikeouts. He has walked just six batters, which is less than anyone in the National League. Spending the first six and a half years of his career as a Yankee, Nova has a 5.01 lifetime ERA against the O’s in 16 starts, and a 5.44 lifetime ERA at Camden Yards.
  • Josh Bell leads the Pirates in home runs with 11. In his last three games, Bell has two home runs.

Notes on the Orioles: 

  • Manny Machado’s bat is showing signs of life. Machado has a hit in all four games played so far in June, including two doubles in Sunday’s 7-3 loss to the Red Sox. Machado also hit two home runs in the Boston series, one on Friday and the other on Saturday.
  • So far in June, Jonathan Schoop has six hits, two doubles, a home run, and four RBI. Aside from Trey Mancini, who has a .294 average in 136 at-bats, Schoop has the highest batting average on the team among active players, hitting .284 in 194 at-bats. Wellingon Castillo has a .317 average, but he is currently on the disabled list with a groin injury.
  • Miley has a 3.11 ERA against Pittsburgh in six career starts. Gausman has never faced the Pirates.
  • Brad Brach has not allowed a run since May 16. He has five relief appearances since then.

Following this two-game set with Pittsburgh, the Orioles will head to our nation’s capital for a makeup game with the Nationals. The 7:05 pm game on Thursday was scheduled after the rain-out on May 11. This game is the conclusion of the “Battle of the Beltways” series that the O’s currently lead, 2-1.

 

 

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