BALTIMORE — This past weekend saw some encouraging signs from the Baltimore Orioles, who took three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards. Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, and Triple-A Norfolk call-up David Hess posted quality starts. The Orioles scored double-digit runs twice, something that they had previously not accomplished this season.

Winning five of the first seven games of the current nine-game homestead, the Orioles look to wrap up on a high note against the Philadelphia Phillies. This marks the first interleague series of 2018 for the Orioles, and the first two games of a four-game season series with the Phillies. The final two games take place July 3-4 at Citizens Bank Park.

Led by first-year manager Gabe Kapler, the Phillies (23-16) come into Baltimore with a second-place spot in the National League East division, 1.5 games behind the Braves (25-15). The Nationals (24-18, 2.0 GB) and the Mets (19-18, 4.5 GB) have put together solid efforts so far this season, but the Marlins (14-26) find themselves in a situation very similar to the Orioles (13-28). The Birds currently find themselves 15.5 games behind the Yankees (28-12) and the Red Sox (28-13) for first place in the American League East.

Last meeting: The last time the Orioles and Phillies met came in 2015 with the Orioles taking the season series 3-1, including a 19-3 win at Camden Yards in June. In that game, Manny Machado and Chris Parmelee homered twice, with Parmelee going 4-for-6 at the plate overall. Jimmy Paredes, Chris Davis, and David Lough, and Ryan Flaherty also homered. Chris Tillman earned a win in six innings, allowing three runs on four hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

Baltimore leads the all-time series against Philadelphia, 29-23.

Problematic weather in forecast: It’s supposed to be stormy and rainy in Baltimore all week, so the grounds crew could be busy before the O’s depart for Boston. As of this writing, Tuesday night’s forecast calls for heavy thunderstorms with possibly over one inch of rain on the way. On Wednesday, storms are not expected, but it will likely rain throughout the day.

The 12:35 start on Wednesday will give the teams plenty of time to get the game in, but both squads must hit the road without an off-day for their next series. Having played a doubleheader on Saturday, the Orioles could see another one land on their schedule if Mother Nature does not cooperate.

Game times and pitching matchups: 

Game 1Tuesday, May 15, 7:05 pm – Nick Pivetta (2-2, 4.15 ERA) vs. Andrew Cashner (1-4, 4.84 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2Wednesday, May 16, 12:35 pm – Vince Velasquez (3-4, 5.05 ERA) vs. Miguel Castro (1-1, 3.55 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Phillies:

  • According to Sports Info Solutions, the Phillies have the lowest percentage of hard contact allowed (19%) as a team. Individually, former Oriole Jake Arrieta (16.8%) ranks third in the majors, Aaron Nola (16.9%) ranks fifth, and Velasquez (17.3%) ranks seventh. That could be a challenge for an Orioles lineup full of power bats.
  • Center-fielder Odubel Herrera ranks first in the NL and second in the majors in batting average (.360), only behind Mookie Betts (.362) of the Red Sox. In 139 at-bats, Herrera has posted 50 hits, eight doubles, one triple, six home runs, and 24 RBI.
  • Left fielder Rhys Hoskins ranks fourth in the majors with 30 walks.

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Prior to Tuesday night’s game, injured closer Zach Britton (achilles) threw batting practice, marking the next ‘big step’ in his recovery, which is progressing ahead of schedule. Meanwhile, Darren O’Day (hyperextended elbow) should come off the 10-day disabled list on Wednesday or Thursday. He will not need a rehab assignment.
  • The Orioles’ offense has scored just 94 runs for their starting pitchers so far this season, which ranks fewest in the AL and fourth-fewest in the majors.
  • Against reliever Richard Bleier (3-0, 1.17 ERA), opposing hitters are 2-for-24 (.083) with runners in scoring position and 7-for-40 (.175) with runners on-base.

A tweet that will make you cringe:

Plug time: For any Phillies fans possibly reading this post, please check out the work of a Bloomsburg University classmate of mine, Tim Kelly. Tim is the Managing Phillies Editor at Sports Talk Philly, and he also writes Eagles columns for the same company. Recently, Tim was hired by 94 WIP which, like 105.7 The Fan, is owned by Entercom.

Image Credit: Zimbio