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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs. Pirates, 7:05

The Orioles are two games back of a playoff spot as they kick off a six-game homestand tonight.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
Will Cedric Mullins put on a show for his bobblehead night?
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re an Oriole fan of a certain age, the mere mention of the name “Pittsburgh Pirates” may fill you with an uncontrollable rage. The Bucs’ World Series victories over the Orioles in 1971 and 1979 — both ending with Game 7 heartbreakers — still ruffle feathers in Birdland a near half-century after the fact.

The introduction of interleague play in 1997 didn’t exactly restoke the flames of that rivalry. The two clubs have faced each other only 20 times in regular-season play, usually in years when one or both of the teams was a non-contending doormat. This year, that description applies only to the Pirates (43-62), while the plucky Orioles enter play tonight just two games behind the Rays for the third and final wild card spot.

The Orioles, who are 9-1 all-time against the Pirates at Camden Yards, will be looking to take care of business against an inferior opponent tonight. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, hopes to play spoiler and knock the O’s further back in the postseason chase. Such an outcome would certainly feed more resentment for the Pirates from Orioles fans young and old.

Cedric Mullins is leading off on Cedric Mullins 30/30 Bobblehead Night at Camden Yards, so hopefully he’ll have something special in store on his big night. Elsewhere, Brett Phillips will make his first start as an Oriole as Austin Hays remains out of the lineup with oblique tightness, and Terrin Vavra — who has a nifty .571 OBP through his first six major league games — moves up to fifth in the lineup. On the mound, Dean Kremer needs a rebound from his rough July (6.94 ERA in five starts).

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
C Adley Rutschman
RF Anthony Santander
1B Ryan Mountcastle
DH Terrin Vavra
3B Ramon Urias
2B Rougned Odor
SS Jorge Mateo
LF Brett Phillips

RHP Dean Kremer

Pirates lineup:

LF Tucupita Marcano
CF Bryan Reynolds
DH Ben Gamel
3B Ke’Bryan Hayes
SS Oneil Cruz
2B Kevin Newman
1B Bligh Madris
RF Cal Mitchell
C Jason Delay

RHP Mitch Keller