BUCKle Up Versus Buccos; Hold On To Your Fedoras
April 29, 2014
After losing two of three to the Kansas City Royals, the Orioles are preparing to square off in a two-game, interleague set with the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's BUCKle Up versus Buccos in Baltimore (weather permitting, of course).
The common thread that runs through these five games is fedoras. Yes, fedoras.
The Royals, Orioles and Pirates are three of 10 major league teams that will hold Fedora Nights as part of their 2014 promotional schedules. The Angels, Cubs, Giants, Mariners, Marlins, Padres and Rangers are the others. That's quality baseball information right there, ladies and gentlemen.
Pittsburgh is trying out a new closer, Mark Melancon, with Jason Grilli on the 15-day DL. Looks like there will be ample room for the "Can anybody close?" conversation in both broadcast booths. (Apparently, we like our broadcast guys more than they like theirs.) Be sure to add "closer's mentality" to your baseball broadcast bingo sheets.
Now, here are some series previews:
Charlie Morton doesn't have any pleasant memories about playing the Orioles. In 2011, he was torched for seven runs on eight hits in two innings against the O's at PNC Park. In 2012, while the Pirates were playing a series at Camden Yards, Morton underwent Tommy John surgery. Interleague has been unkind to him, too. Morton is 1-3 with a 6.67 ERA in six starts against AL clubs. His only victory came against the Angels in 2008, when Morton was still with the Braves.
Can Tillman rebound? In his last start, he allowed seven runs to Toronto, the most he’s given up since May 5, 2011.
Will the Orioles bats rebound? After scoring 21 runs in the last two games in Toronto, the Orioles scored six in losing two of three to Kansas City.
Pittsburgh dominated AL teams in 2013 en route to its first playoff appearance in 21 years thanks to its pitching. The Pirates' 2.23 interleague ERA ranked second in the majors and their .199 opponents' batting average ranked first.
The Pirates have been let down this year by a starting staff that owns baseball's worst record at 3-13, including 1-8 with a 4.68 ERA in the last 14 games.
Picks & Odds
Baltimore (12-12), meanwhile, has seen its fortune at the plate at home reversed this season. The Orioles averaged 4.7 runs at home a year ago for baseball's fourth-best mark but are at a major league-worst 2.6 this year, totaling six runs in losing two of three to Kansas City over the weekend.