The Pirates (26-31) head to Baltimore for one of those goofy two-game sets. The Orioles will make a return visit to Pittsburgh in late September. The O’s are about where I’d expect them to be — above .500, third place, 3 1⁄2 games out in the American League East — but they haven’t quite followed the narrative I’d expected. I found this Camden Chat piece helpful and you, SB Nation brand-loyal reader, likely will, too. The Orioles went 15-8 in April and fell back a bit in May, going 12-16. They just split a four-game home series with the Red Sox, dropping the final two.
The Pirates pleasantly took two of three from the Mets in New York after losing or splitting their three previous series.
Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. - Ivan Nova (5-4, 2.92 ERA) vs. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 5.92), TV: Root (MLB Network out of market)
Wednesday, 7:05 p.m. - Chad Kuhl (1-5, 6.02) vs. Wade Miley (2-3, 2.82), TV: Root (MLB Network out of market)
29-26 (27-28 Pythag, 4.44 RS/G, 4.60 RA/G)
The Orioles, more than most teams, certainly have their type of hitter: hulking sluggers who strike out a lot. Their offense has carried their team a good bit in their recent successful years, and I was surprised to find them sitting 22nd in Major League Baseball in runs scored. Manny Machado (.219/.296/.442 (.229 BABIP!)) and Adam Jones (.252/.296/.424 (a below-the-mean but not exclamation-worthy .276 BABIP)) have underperformed. Bopper Mark Trumbo (.416 SLG, 8 HR) is off the pace a bit. Chris Davis’ .232/.326/.464 with 12 homers isn’t that wildly off, but it’s not outstanding. Twenty-five-year-old Trey Mancini (.507 SLG, 7 HR in 148 PA) has hit his way to more playing time, and offseason trade acquisition Seth Smith has also been good in a smaller dose.
The Orioles starters, on the whole, still aren’t particularly good. Wade Miley (2.82 ERA/4.40 FIP) is one exception, so far, with a fair bit of strikeouts but also walks. (Dylan Bundy, who the Pirates will miss this time, is the other.) Zach Britton is out with a forearm strain and the O’s bullpen is merely good. Brad Brach is closing. He, Darren O’Day and left-hander Donnie Hart have been solid.
It’s only two games, so it’s hard to say — much, much harder than three games, which tell you everything you could ever want to know. It would be nice to see the Pirates back Ivan Nova, then help Miley regress to the mean a little, wouldn’t it?
Take your pick:
This poll is closed
Get out your mini-brooms, Pirates sweep!