|Phillies make quick detour to visit Orioles|
BALTIMORE -- The Philadelphia Phillies will have a brief one-game meeting with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday because of a May 15 game that was postponed due to rain.
The teams waited more than three hours before postponing that game and rescheduling for Thursday. In fact, the weather was so bad during those few days in May that they moved the May 16 start to 12:05 p.m. to avoid bad weather, which worked out.
Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.62 ERA) starts for the Phillies on Thursday against Kevin Gausman (4-6, 4.11), who has pitched better than his record indicates.
Gausman has not gotten much offensive support. The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 10 of his 18 starts.
Also, the right-hander has never pitched against Philadelphia.
Pivetta has struggled lately, giving up 10 runs over just 4 1/3 innings in his last two starts, taking a loss plus a no-decision. He went 0-4 in June but got a win earlier this month when coming on in relief in an extra-inning victory versus Washington.
Pivetta defeated the Orioles 4-1 on May 16 in his only appearance against them, allowing one run and two hits while striking out 11 in seven innings.
The Phillies (51-40) are in a battle with the Braves (51-40) for first place in the National League East after Philadelphia lost to the New York Mets and Atlanta defeated Toronto on Wednesday. They have a 5 1/2-game lead over Washington.
Maikel Franco got another hit for the Phillies in the loss to continue his recent roll. He's now batting .400 in July and giving Philadelphia some real punch at the bottom of the order.
"If I'm playing and I'm in the lineup, it doesn't really matter what position I hit," Franco told reporters. "I just try to go out there and play my game and do everything I can for my team. I just try to go out there and play my game."
The Orioles just came off a four-game split with the Yankees and Baltimore's bats are slowly starting to make some noise although New York handed the Orioles a 9-0 loss Wednesday.
Baltimore's offense doesn't always help its pitchers, which is something that concerns manager Buck Showalter.
"We just didn't score any runs again," Showalter told the media after Wednesday's loss. "I'd love to see our pitchers get some margin for error, especially early in the game."
Jonathan Schoop has been heating up along with Mark Trumbo, which is something the Orioles need. The question now is what the team will be looking like in the coming days and weeks after Baltimore makes moves, possibly trading away players such as Manny Machado and Zach Britton.
Baltimore also placed starter Andrew Cashner on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his neck. The Orioles replaced him by recalling Yefry Ramirez from Triple-A Norfolk.
Ramirez started the second game of this past Monday's doubleheader with the Yankees and took the loss after giving up four runs in four-plus innings.