Game Preview 06/22: Orioles vs. Pirates

It’s time for a decision. The rubber match at PNC Park will begin at 12:35 and will be a great pitching match-up. It’s O’s surprise lefty Britton vs. Bucs great righty Kevin Correia.

Correia was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 2002. In 2003, he became the first player from the 2002 draft to reach the majors. He spent most of his time from 2003 to 2007 as a relief pitcher but he rejoined the starting rotation in August 2007 and had a 1.80 ERA after 7 starts. In 2008, he had a 6.05 ERA and was a starter mostly. He went to the Padres in 2009 through free agency and eventually became their ace. He was signed by the Pirates in December to 2-year, $8 million deal and was the starter on Opening Day. He’s built a great campaign this season with a 8-6 record and a 3.60 ERA. His most recent start came against the Indians where he went 5 2/3 innings in the loss. He gave up 4 hits and only 2 runs (1 earned) off a homer and 3 walks with 2 strikeouts. Obviously, that’s a great start but he had no run support. He’s coming off of 2 consecutive loss decisions.

We know Britton’s story but here’s a background of how he got here: He played in the outfield in high school and also pitched and received an athletic scholarship to attend Texas A&M. The O’s drafted him in the 3rd round in 2006 and he accepted a $435,000 bonus to sign with the team. Before the 2010 season, Baseball America considered him the O’s 3rd best prospect. In a midseason top 25 prospect list, he was voted 10th best prospect in all of baseball. Fun fact: one of his brothers (he has 2 older ones) plays for the Bowie Baysox. This season, he’s 6-4 with a nice ERA of 3.10. His last start was a no decision even though he deserved a win for it. He pitched 5 innings and gave up 5 hits and 4 runs but only 1 run was earned (cough…Mark Reynolds you suck…cough). So hopefully the defense can pull it together for him tonight and help him get the win.

A few things to note:

Nick Markakis is on a 12-game hitting streak. He’s hitting .389 in that time so he’s on fire.

Mark Reynolds has hit in 11 of the last 13 games hitting .410 with 3 doubles, 4 homers, and 8 RBIs. I guess he’s trying to make up for his defensive woes.

J.J. Hardy is also on fire. He went 2 for 5 last night with the solo homerun. That was his 9th of the season which is 2 more than Orioles shortstops hit in the past 3 years COMBINED. Can you say upgrade? And ever since he’s been put in the leadoff spot, he’s hitting .345 with 7 homers, 8 doubles, 19 runs, and 15 RBIs.

Finally, Orioles pitchers are 5 for 12 at the plate so far this year with 2 doubles and 2 RBIs. Our pitchers like to hit too!

With all that said, the O’s still need to play better and play better as a team to get more wins. Let’s hope they start it off today with a series win. Go O’s!

Tags: J.J. Hardy Mark Reynolds Nick Markakis Zach Britton

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