MLB: Orioles, suddenly a contender, look to top Pirates again
The Baltimore Orioles aren’t supposed to be the type of team that just plugs in another player and it all works out.
The Orioles are riding a four-game winning streak and are climbing the American League wild-card standings as they prepare to play the middle game of a three-game series against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Baltimore rookie Terrin Vavra started at designated hitter on Friday and recorded three hits in the Orioles’ 1-0 victory over the Pirates. He has played in seven major league games and has a four-game hitting streak.
“He is taking veteran-type at-bats, where he’s laying off tough pitches,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “It’s the quality of his at-bats and how he’s able to not chase, which is nice to watch. …
“We chase a little too much as a club, and to have somebody up here that’s managing his at-bat really well. It’s been really impressive,” Hyde said.
The positive vibes stalled for the Pirates, who arrived after a three-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Derek Shelton wasn’t in the dugout for the finish Friday night after an eighth-inning ejection.
The Pirates are intent on making sure the result doesn’t grow into something worse. Center fielder Bryan Reynolds said the team is developing a better mindset.
“Just gritty,” Reynolds said. “Just gritty grinders.”
Saturday will be the second game of Pittsburgh’s 10-game road trip. The Pirates have dropped seven of their past eight road games, but they don’t want to hold a negative attitude.
“We just fight,” Pirates third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes said. “We fight the whole game, even when we’re down.”
So many things are going the Orioles’ way that even blips don’t seem to interfere for long. Even with sluggish offense, they rode pitching on Friday, recording their second shutout in a 10-day span.
Baltimore got by the past two games without outfielder Austin Hays, who is nursing a sore oblique.
“We’re just trying to be careful with it,” Hays said. “It’s nothing super concerning right now.”
Hays’ absence on Friday resulted in the first Baltimore start for outfielder Brett Phillips, who was acquired earlier in the week from the Tampa Bay Rays. Phillips has a reputation as a strong defensive player.
“Brett’s an elite outfielder, elite base-stealer, one of the best throwers in the game,” Hyde said. “So we continue to get better in the outfield defensively, and a lot of options to pick late in the game for when we want to put our best outfield out there.”
Right-hander Austin Voth (1-1, 5.54 ERA) will get the call for the Orioles on Saturday. Voth has made seven starts since joining the Orioles in a trade from Washington. While with the Nationals, he pitched two shutout innings against the Pirates in April, his lone career appearance vs. Pittsburgh.
Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker (2-9, 4.40 ERA) is slated to oppose Voth. Even in a season with not much going right, his most recent outing was his worst when he surrendered seven runs on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings to the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
Brubaker has never faced the Orioles.
–Field Level Media