In general, the third place team from a division like the AL East should not have a whole lot to fear from the last place team from what is so far this year a bad division like the NL Central. This does not mean that the Orioles can just sleepwalk through this series and expect to get anywhere.
That's true in this series opener particularly, where they will go up against Ivan Nova and his 2.92 ERA. That's impressive, especially since Nova has struck out just 40 batters in 77 innings - quite an aberration among successful MLB pitchers. But Nova can probably pull this off because he has only walked six batters, and he's succeeded in keeping the ball in the ballpark - just six home runs allowed.
Sometimes, these strike-throwing pitchers are just the ones for the Orioles to ambush, but there are also those guys who are clearly weak contact-oriented pitchers who seem to know just how to get an aggressive Orioles lineup to get themselves out.
Kevin Gausman hasn't been a very exciting pitcher for the Orioles so far this year. If you've gotten worked up about him, it probably hasn't been in a good way. He's on a string of three decent starts in a row, combining to allow just six earned runs over the past 18 innings - his best and maybe only stretch of three consecutive decent starts all season. If he continues that, the Orioles might get somewhere tonight. If not, well, you might not be paying very close attention by the fourth or fifth inning.
|PITTSBURGH PIRATES||BALTIMORE ORIOLES|
|Adam Frazier - LF||Seth Smith - RF|
|Josh Harrison - 2B||Adam Jones - CF|
|Gregory Polanco - RF||Manny Machado - 3B|
|David Freese - 3B||Mark Trumbo - DH|
|Josh Bell - DH||Chris Davis - 1B|
|Andrew McCutchen - CF||Jonathan Schoop - 2B|
|John Jaso - 1B||Trey Mancini - LF|
|Francisco Cervelli - C||J.J. Hardy - SS|
|Jordy Mercer - SS||Caleb Joseph - C|
|Ivan Nova - RHP||Kevin Gausman - RHP|