MLB: Rolling Orioles return home to meet struggling Braves

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The Baltimore Orioles seem to have it all together. The Atlanta Braves need to get going again, starting when the teams meet Tuesday night in Baltimore.

The Orioles are back from a 6-2 road trip, having won the last four of those by sweeping a series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The capper was a 5-2 victory Monday night.

“I think our guys are too young, honestly,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Maybe the older guys understand how hard that is, but younger guys, they don’t really understand it, that this is not normal. You don’t just go on the road and sweep a team four times, no matter what their record is.”

After 14 consecutive games against American League East competition, Baltimore is set to play six straight interleague games.

The Braves are 2-4 entering their last stop on the nine-game road trip. They split two games in Boston, then lost the last three in a four-game series at Washington before having Monday off.

“I’ve never known an off day to not come at a good time,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re not playing bad baseball. Things aren’t going our way. We have a long way to go. We’re going to get better and start hitting on all cylinders and be fine.”

The upcoming series had the makings of a showdown until Atlanta’s recent slide. Baltimore had 42 hits in the series at Tampa Bay, with 21 of those going for extra bases.

“That’s something that makes us so good as a team,” reserve catcher James McCann said. “We’re able to pass the baton, and it’s someone different every night.”

Baltimore might prove a difficult place for the Braves to turn things around.

“They’re a good team. So are we,” Snitker said, “so I’m excited about going there and playing.”

The Braves will be trying to avoid matching their long skid of the season, a four-game run from May 15-20. Atlanta’s offense has sputtered, averaging less than three runs per game in the past five contests.

“Eventually, we’re going to come out of this offensive funk we’re in,” Snitker said. “I have no doubt that’s going to happen.”

The Orioles, who have won 14 of their past 18 games overall, have good offensive flow, beginning with leadoff batter Gunnar Henderson. He doubled and launched his 21st home run of the season Monday night.

Left-hander Max Fried (6-2, 2.93 ERA) will look to extend his personal winning streak to four starts. He is coming off an 8-3 victory over the Red Sox on June 4, when he struck out 13 and allowed just three runs (two earned) in seven innings. It was the third straight start in which he went at least seven innings.

Against Baltimore in his career, Fried is 1-1 with 3.00 ERA in two starts.

Right-hander Albert Suarez (2-0, 1.83 ERA) heads to the mound for Baltimore. He has been steady since returning to a starter’s role for his past three outings.

Suarez’s only appearances against the Braves came in his first season in the majors in 2016, when he was with the San Francisco Giants. Suarez went 0-1 in two starts covering a combined 9 1/3 innings. He allowed a total of six runs.

The Orioles have been saving their bullpen with quality efforts from starters on a regular basis. Starter Corbin Burnes worked seven innings on Monday, with Yennier Cano and Craig Kimbrel (15th save) going an inning apiece.

“We’re in this ridiculous stretch,” Hyde said. “Having to only use two relievers, that was enormous.”

–Field Level Media

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