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Jun 16, 2024 5:54 am

Phillies, Orioles conclude series in playoff-like atmosphere

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The series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Baltimore Orioles has featured a couple of teams with impressive records, meeting in sizzling weather with a definite feel of autumn in the air.

There’s still more to sort out as they clash again Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of the three-game series. The host Orioles cranked out a 6-2 victory Saturday following a 5-3, 11-inning loss Friday night.

The mid-June heat has been good for Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander, who has homered three times across the past two games. He’s hitting .298 in June following a .207 May.

“I don’t know why it happens, but I feel great when it’s hot,” Santander said.

The Phillies are in danger of dropping a series for just the sixth time this season, but it would be the second time in June should the Orioles prevail on Sunday.

A win could send Baltimore fans into a frenzy. There has been plenty of enthusiasm on the field and in the stands, with the Phillies and Orioles billed as potential World Series contenders come October.

“I was in Philadelphia all of last year,” said Orioles closer Craig Kimbrel, who worked the final inning Saturday in a non-save situation. “I knew the fans would travel, especially being so close.”

The atmosphere has been notable to the Phillies as well.

“It’s like a playoff game, and the guys respond,” Philadelphia manager Rob Thomson said.

A Baltimore victory Sunday would leave the teams with identical 47-24 records. The Phillies have the best record in the National League. Only the New York Yankees in the American League have a better record than the Orioles.

There will be a marquee matchup on the mound to conclude the series, too.

Right-hander Zack Wheeler (8-3, 2.16 ERA) has won his past eight decisions. He has two no-decisions in that span, both 10-inning Philadelphia losses.

Across his past 20 innings, Wheeler has yielded just two runs while recording 19 strikeouts. Three of the past four victories for Wheeler have come in games following a Philadelphia loss.

In his career against the Orioles, Wheeler has a 1-0 record, 1.90 ERA and 19 strikeouts in four starts across 23 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Corbin Burnes (7-2, 2.08), Baltimore’s ace, is in an ever better groove than Wheeler. Burnes has a four-game winning streak, with his three most recent starts covering 21 innings while allowing just one earned run and four total runs.

Burnes, who spent his career with the NL’s Milwaukee Brewers before an offseason trade to Baltimore, has given up three runs three times this season. He has a 0.64 ERA across two June starts.

Against the Phillies, Burnes is 1-1 with a 0.55 ERA over 16 1/3 innings with 24 strikeouts in four appearances (two starts).

Starting pitching is a growing topic around the Orioles, particularly with Kyle Bradish being put on the 15-day injured list Saturday. The right-hander complained of elbow issues during his Friday night outing against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies.

“I didn’t know how we were going to respond,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Watching what happened with Kyle (Friday) night, obviously people are down and thinking about him and hoping for the best.”

Philadelphia’s Trea Turner is close to returning from the injured list, Thomson said, after the shortstop seemed to pass another test during Saturday’s pregame workout. He went on the 10-day injured list on May 4 with a left hamstring strain.

–Field Level Media

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