Streaking Orioles seek to sweep slumping Braves

Thu Jun 13 12:02am ET
Field Level Media

The Baltimore Orioles have looked nearly unbeatable in recent weeks.

It's the opposite for the Atlanta Braves, who are dealing with their biggest slump of the season.

"This is a group that one way or another is going to figure out a way to turn the tide, to end up getting the job done," Atlanta outfielder Adam Duvall said.

The Orioles have won a season-high six games in a row and 16 of their past 20 games going into Thursday afternoon's series finale against the visiting Braves.

"We're having a lot of team wins," Baltimore outfielder Colton Cowser said. "I think we're continuing to find ways to win ball games."

Atlanta is carrying a season-worst five-game losing streak and holds a 2-6 record with one game to play on a nine-game road trip. In those five most recent losses, the Braves have scored a total of 11 runs.

"That team is going to get going offensively," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "I think they're really, really dangerous."

But that hasn't translated to much lately. Aside from Matt Olson's home run Wednesday night, they had six singles.

"It's pretty frustrating when you put a good swing on the ball and don't get the results you want," Duvall said. "We couldn't push enough runs across the board. We haven't been able to do that."

Cowser hit a go-ahead, two-run home run for Baltimore in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday night. Te entered the game as a defensive replacement before the Braves tied the score, further proof that the Orioles have been pushing all the right buttons lately.

"They've got a good blend," Braves manager Brian Snitker said of the Orioles. "They put a guy in for defense and he hits a two-run homer. They're really, really good. They're strong."

The Orioles have received production from the bottom of their order along with some of the sluggers. On Wednesday, Cedric Mullins and Jorge Mateo provided a spark, combining to go 3-for-6 with two runs scored.

"Those two guys are exciting players when they're on the bases," Hyde said. "Nice to have them produce offensively for us."

Left-hander Cole Irvin (6-2, 2.87 ERA) is slated to start for the Orioles, who are 9-3 this season when he pitches. He has faced the Braves seven times (two starts) in his career for a total of 20 2/3 innings, holding a 10.62 ERA without a decision in those matchups.

Behind Irvin, the Orioles have some moving parts with their bullpen. Reliever Danny Coulombe has gone on the injured list with elbow inflammation.

"Pitching plans are definitely up in the air right now," Hyde said. "We're series to series."

However, Craig Kimbrel has clearly returned to the closer's role. He has logged Baltimore's past three saves.

Atlanta right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (3-2, 1.85) heads to the mound after back-to-back outings of six innings. Both runs that he allowed last Thursday in Washington came on back-to-back home runs by CJ Abrams and Lane Thomas.

Lopez, who'll make his 12th start of the year, is 1-2 with a 3.24 in nine career outings (two starts) vs. Baltimore.