SAN DIEGO — The visiting Orioles continue their interleague schedule against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday and that brings a smile to Baltimore manager Buck Showalter's face.
And not just because the AL East-leading Orioles are seeking their seventh straight victory.
“It's easier to keep everyone happy in National League games,” Showalter said. “Everybody is more on their toes and thinking about the game because you use more players. And it's the same with the bullpen.”
The Orioles have forgone a designated hitter in the NL ballpark and that's something Showalter isn't thrilled about.
“It's easier for a National League team to play against an American League team (at its home) because every team has someone it can DH,” Showalter said. “But for an American League team it isn't as big as an advantage playing without a DH.”
Showalter knows what it's like to go without right-handed starter Yovani Gallardo (2-1, 6.04 ERA), his starter Wednesday. He missed some eight weeks with a sore shoulder and is making his third start since escaping the disabled list June 18. He has a win and a no-decision to show for his work.
Gallardo squares off against lefty Christian Friedrich (4-2, 3.60).
“The first game back (Gallardo) was pretty good,” Showalter said. “The second one he had a tough first inning but he bounced back.”
Since returning, Gallardo has worked 10 1/3 innings, charged with five runs and 13 hits. He's walked six with eight strikeouts.
Gallardo knows his way around the National League, starting 211 games when with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Showalter said that's a slight advantage, but it doesn't mean squat if “he doesn't get out of the first or second inning.”
But Showalter isn't expecting that.
“He's going to pitch five-to-seven innings and give us a chance,” Showalter said. “He feels good, that's the most important thing. We need him.”
What Showalter doesn't appreciate is the jumbled road trip his squad is on. After finishing today's two-game set with the Padres, the Orioles returned to American League action when facing the Seattle Mariners for four games.
Then it's back to National League play and a three-set against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It's hard to prepare for because you have your pitchers running the bases and other things,” Showalter said. “That is what you worry about. I just wish we do it all at one time and we can get it over with. But nobody asked me.”
In Friedrich, the Padres offer one of their more surprising pitchers.
“He's a guy we couldn't be more pleased with,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He is developing into a very depending starter for us.”
Friedrich earned a win in his last start Thursday against Reds, working five innings and allowing four runs on six hits and four walks. He struck out two.
“He threw the ball well in Cincinnati,” Green said.
And maybe the southpaw continues doing just that in his ninth start of the season and fifth at Petco Park.
“The Orioles don't like to hit left-handers as well as they do right-handers,” Green said. “And we are going to see if Christian can take advantage of that.”