Orioles fans who are older than me will probably always hate Pittsburgh because of the World Series in 1971 or especially 1979. Baltimore people who like the Ravens more than the Orioles probably hate Pittsburgh because of the rivalry between our football teams. But I feel like for baseball fans, the O's and the Pirates have a lot in common, chiefly being that we have both suffered through long periods of non-winning baseball. In fact, the Pirates are the only team with more consecutive losing seasons than the Orioles.
This is the first time since 2008 that the O's have played Pittsburgh in interleague, and both teams have had pretty much total turnover in that time. If you're like me, you probably couldn't name more than one person in the Pirates lineup - word of Andrew McCutchen seeped into my consciousness, but that's about it. The 24-year old center fielder is batting .276/.379/.460 with ten home runs, 14 stolen bases in 19 attempts, and good numbers by defensive metrics. I guess the only question about him is how long until they trade him to New York?
Speaking of New York trades, the Pirates leadoff hitter is Jose Tabata, who was acquired along with Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens back in 2008 for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte, players whose total contribution to New York was approximately nil. But of course the Yankee farm system can make trades like that and absorb the losses.
Tonight's starter for the Pirates is Charlie Morton, who's kind of made himself a story this season by trying to copy Roy Halladay's delivery and managing some small success thus far. Morton's got a 3.21 ERA over 84 IP. Going for the O's is Jake Arrieta, who's on a streak of three straight not-terrible starts but really needs to hurry up and figure out how to not walk so many dudes.
The Orioles have flailed in interleague in recent memory, so let's hope they can get some positive momentum going into the remainder of this part of the schedule with a win tonight. Maybe Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds will keep asserting their superiority over NL pitching. That would be cool.
|Orioles (J. Arrieta - R) @ Pirates (C. Morton - R)|