Two teams with sudden good vibes are ready to face off Friday night in Baltimore.
The Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles are both coming off three-game series sweeps.
“On any given day, anybody can win a ball game,” Pittsburgh catcher Victor Caratini said.
The Pirates pulled off a 5-4, 10-inning home victory against Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon, while the Orioles were off after winning all three games earlier this week at Texas.
That day of rest could be a factor in this Pittsburgh-Baltimore series. Pirates manager Derek Shelton said his bullpen is tired after the series with the Brewers.
Shelton said he was pleased how the Pirates reacted following the trade deadline earlier this week.
“A lot of people played a big part” of the sweep, he said. “It’s nice to come out of the deadline and play that well for three days.”
Until the sweep, the Pirates lost eight of nine games coming out of the All-Star break.
The Orioles have won seven of their last 10 games, surging above .500 and finding success in various ways.
“That’s what it takes,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “If you look at good teams, they win differently.”
Now, the Orioles are back home minus two players who’ve been crucial to the team’s success. First baseman Trey Mancini and closer Jorge Lopez were traded.
“I think our guys did a great job of understanding what’s ahead of us,” Hyde said. “We’re going to miss those guys, there’s no doubt. They’re great teammates and they’re hard to replace. We still have the season to play, and our guys are playing to win. And they’re still playing with confidence.”
And the Orioles have moved into the conversation regarding wild-card spots for the postseason.
The Baltimore roster now includes outfielder Brett Phillips, who was picked up during the week. He’ll be in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards for the first time, but he was a frequent visitor there with the Tampa Bay Rays.
This is the beginning of Pittsburgh’s 10-game coast-to-coast road, which concludes in San Francisco.
“We’ve just got to build off this series whenever we go on the road for this long stretch,” Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes said. “Continue on the offensive side, find ways to get guys on.”
Right-hander Mitch Keller (3-7, 4.37 ERA) will be the starting pitcher for the Pirates, who won only one of five games in which Keller pitched in July. Keller, however, worked six or more innings in each start. Two of the defeats came in 10 innings and another came after Keller didn’t allow an earned run.
Keller has never pitched against the Orioles, and he’s 1-4 all-time in interleague games in 10 starts against American League clubs.
The Baltimore starter will be right-hander Dean Kremer (3-3, 3.86 ERA), who has lost his last two starts. That included giving up season highs of 10 hits and six runs in 4 1/3 innings Saturday at Cincinnati. He has never faced the Pirates.
This three-game series marks the only meetings of the season between the Pirates and Orioles.
–Field Level Media