- I'm not sure if anyone else is paying as close attention, but the Baltimore Orioles are two games back in the wild-card race, and truly have a legitimate chance to get into the postseason with a late surge.
The schedule isn't a cakewalk, but it certainly is conquerable for the O's, who have 32 home games left, as opposed to 25 on the road. And it's series like these against the Pittsburgh Pirates that become must-wins if the Orioles want to make the postseason.
Baltimore, which has won eight of 14, has been on a tear since July 3, winning 19 of its last 26 behind a batting average of .255. They've also scored an average of 4.8 runs per game. Neither are glaring, but they're helping to get it done.
Pitching has been respectable, and is a contributing factor, with a 3.45 ERA during the 26-game stretch. The Orioles' staff has held opponents to a .246 batting average. Over their last 10 games - a 7-3 winning run - the O's have an even better 2.93 ERA.
Today it'll be Dean Kremer, who is 3-3 with a 3.86 ERA this season and will be looking to avenge a rough end to July. The right-hander was 0-2 in his last three starts with an 8.56 ERA.
He will dominate a Pirates team that has lost 12 of 17 overall, and 20 of their last 26 when visiting American League ballparks. Over the last 15 days, the Bucs have scored the second-fewest runs (41) and have the third-lowest batting average (.212).
The O's should get him plenty of run support, as the Pirates hand the ball to Mitch Keller, who is 3-3 with a 4.44 ERA over 10 road outings (nine starts). Keller has always struggled away from his own mound, with a career 8-10 mark and 5.23 ERA in 27 road outings (26 starts). And in 10 Interleague starts, Keller is 1-4 with a 4.38 ERA.