Surging Braves face slumping Orioles again

MLB

The streaking Atlanta Braves will go for their eighth straight win when they visit the sliding Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night.

The Orioles have lost 16 straight games, five shy of matching the team record set at the start of the 1988 season.

Atlanta has soared to the top of the National League East by winning 14 of its past 16 games.

The Braves will send left-hander Drew Smyly (8-3, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against right-hander Matt Harvey (6-12, 6.25) in the second contest of the three-game series.

Smyly has not lost since May 26, and the Braves are 11-2 in his 13 starts since that date. During that stretch, he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start.

Last time out, however, the Washington Nationals got to him Sunday for three runs and six hits in four innings. He received a no-decision in a game Atlanta won 6-5.

Smyly is 4-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 11 career games, eight starts, against the Orioles.

Harvey will look to bounce back from a poor start Monday against the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays, in which he allowed five runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He blanked them for three innings before they scored two runs off of him in the fourth and three in the fifth.

“Harv was outstanding through the first three innings, and then the fourth, the leadoff walk to (Ji-Man) Choi hurt,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.

After three straight scoreless outings totaling 18 1/3 innings to end July, Harvey is 0-2 with a 6.59 ERA in August.

“I feel pretty good,” Harvey said. “I can’t complain how my arm feels. Everything feels pretty good, so I’m happy about that.”

Harvey, a former New York Met, is 4-7 with a 4.94 ERA in 14 career games, 13 starts, versus the Braves.

Smyly will be hard-pressed to match Max Fried’s performance from Friday night, as the latter threw a four-hit shutout in the Braves’ 3-0 victory.

Catcher Travis d’Arnaud had a two-run homer and Jorge Soler hit a solo shot for the Braves. Atlanta also announced it had agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract extension for the 32-year-old d’Arnaud.

“I’m very thankful they reached out to me. I wanted to come back,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. This team is built to win for a long time. I’m just so grateful to be part of it.”

He is hitting .236 with four homers and 17 RBIs after missing three months due to a thumb injury. In 2020, d’Arnaud hit .321 with nine homers and 34 RBIs in 44 games.

Trey Mancini had two hits Friday for the Orioles, who stayed within striking distance of Atlanta thanks to a decent start by Keegan Akin and four scoreless innings from the bullpen.

The Orioles just couldn’t generate any offense, scoring two or fewer runs for the seventh time in their past eight games.

“We end the game every night and everybody is upset,” outfielder Austin Hays said. “There’s no music in the clubhouse. Everybody’s just mad because we’re losing games. It’s a very tough atmosphere, but I think we’re doing as good a job as you can do, coming in the next day with a positive mindset.”

–Field Level Media

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