It's the 71st game of the season for the Orioles, and in a funny bit of symmetry the Pirates will be wearing the uniforms from their 1971 World Series-winning season. I am not sure whether the O's will be accoutred in a similar fashion. We all know how much of a hit those orange uniforms were from last year.
But whatever, let's get into the 21st century for a second here and take a look at this contest between the two franchises with the longest current streaks of consecutive losing seasons, both of which would be continuing if the season ended today. The O's have been getting a storm of hits against NL pitching (even counting games where they lost), with former NL hands like J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds enjoying particular success. Nick Markakis is riding an eleven-game hitting streak and has even collected three doubles and a home run in that time.
Here is perhaps the one game of the season where Jeremy Guthrie, who never gets any help from the offense, or the bullpen, can benefit himself, as he will be starting the game and batting ninth. So far, three of the four O's starters to bat for themselves have gotten hits and Guthrie can be a part of it. He's 1-17 batting in his career with the lone hit coming in a 2008 game against the Nats. In that game, Guts pitched 7 innings and gave up one earned run but got a no-decision. His fortunes haven't changed much.
Pirates starter James McDonald is the cousin of former Orioles prospect (and current Boston player) Darnell McDonald. He's made 14 starts on the season but averages only about 5.1 IP per start and sports a 4.80 ERA. The short starts and high ERA probably have a lot to do with 4.59 BB/9, which even exceeds the rate of yesterday's O's starter, Arrieta. Maybe we'll even work some counts and get some walks. Wouldn't that be something?
After missing so many opportunities against the Nats, the O's have a chance in tonight's game to really put their stamp on interleague and claw their way back up to respectability. Can they pull the trigger and make it happen?
|Orioles (J. Guthrie - R) @ Pirates (J. McDonald - R)|