Pirates, Orioles renew storied rivalry (Jun 06, 2017)
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates renew their storied rivalry in a two-game series beginning Tuesday at Camden Yards.
The teams have met twice in the World Series, with the Pirates winning both times in 1971 and 1979. Those games were highlighted by some of the greatest players of all-time, including Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, just to name a few.
While the current teams don't exactly have the same type of star power, it should be an intriguing series between a pair of clubs looking to make a run at the postseason. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said his team has to quickly forget about a disappointing weekend series with the Boston Red Sox, who won two straight to earn a four-game split.
"Pittsburgh scored 11 runs (Sunday)," Showalter said. "Another challenge around the corner. I'm more happy our guys are going to finally get an off day at home before we play 20 games in a row. So, it starts up again. No, it has nothing to do with (the Red Sox). Good teams every day. These are the best players in the world."
The Orioles' Kevin Gausman (3-4) is still looking to find some consistency and pitch deeper into games.
Gausman has shown progress and managed a 3.00 ERA in his past three starts.
In his last outing, the right-hander picked up the win after allowing three runs (two earned) with four strikeouts, but five walks, over 5 1/3 innings against the New York Yankees. Gausman said one of the keys to his recent success has been the play of the defense behind him.
"Anytime you have those guys fielding the ball the way that they have, really ever since I've been here, it gives you the confidence to kind of go after guys," said Gausman, who will be making his career debut against Pittsburgh.
Baltimore will be without starting catcher Welington Castillo, who is out with a groin injury. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on Saturday, but will likely go on a rehabilitation assignment before rejoining the club.
Baltimore is 4-2 in interleague play this year.
Pittsburgh will counter with Ivan Nova, who has gone at least six innings in each of his 11 starts this season. In his last outing, Nova allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings against the Atlanta Braves.
As a former player for the Yankees, Nova (5-4, 2.92 ERA) should be quite comfortable pitching in Baltimore. Nova is 8-4 with a 5.01 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) all-time against the Orioles. He is also 3-1 with a 5.44 ERA at Camden Yards.
Pittsburgh is making its first visit to Baltimore since 2014.
The Pirates got a boost Sunday when catcher Francisco Cervelli (illness) was able to get back in the lineup. Right fielder Gregory Polanco should also be available for the opener in Baltimore after being held out Sunday for a regular day of rest. Polanco has battled through an ankle injury.
Pittsburgh has some momentum after taking a three-game series against the Mets over the weekend.
"Obviously we're missing some guys, but the guys on this roster can do some damage and put together some W's," said Pirates third baseman David Freese, who had three hits and three RBIs on Sunday. "This whole division, it's just trying to find a way to string some wins together."