Ordinarily, a National League team arriving at an Interleague portion of its schedule amid a slump would consider that to be a worst-case scenario, given the American League's historical edge in the relationship.
The Pittsburgh Pirates, however, have not been an ordinary NL team. In the throes of 13 losses in 17 games, they may welcome a visit to Baltimore, where Tuesday night they will open a two-game series against the Orioles.
Right-handers Charlie Morton and Chris Tillman will duel in the opener.
Morton is seeking his first Interleague victory since getting his very first career win against the Angels in 2008, when he was with the Atlanta Braves.
"We're playing a good team, a good offensive club," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
If they stay in past character, the Bucs should also be a good offensive club the next five games -- a three-game series with Toronto follows this set -- in contrast to what they've shown thus far. Pittsburgh has scored fewer than three runs in 14 of its first 26 games.
Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez have feasted on AL pitching. McCutchen went 27-for-72 (.375) in last season's Interleague Play, and is 10-for-21 in six career games against the Orioles. Alvarez has hit .400 (18-for-45) in his last 13 games against AL competition, with four homers and 10 RBIs.
Thanks largely to their contributions, the Pirates were the scourge of Interleague Play last season, with a Major League-best record of 15-5, and have an ongoing streak of nine consecutive road wins against AL teams.
Pirates: For starters, where are the wins?
Remarkably, Bucs starting pitchers have only three wins 26 games into the season. Gerrit Cole has two, and Edinson Volquez has the other.
How unusual is that? Never mind that a year ago, Pirates starters had nine wins within the first 26 games. After all, the '13 edition was a powerhouse on its way to a 94-win season.
However, even in 2010, when the Pirates would go on to lose 105 games, their starters had six wins in the first 26 games.
Orioles: Who's on first? Not Davis
Chris Davis' big bat will be missing from Baltimore's lineup, having gone on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique. Davis apparently sustained the injury in Friday's 5-0 loss to the Royals.
"It's kind of crazy, because I don't feel terrible," said Davis, who had been optimistic about avoiding the DL upon exiting Friday's game after four innings. "I've never had anything like this before. I figured it would just be a few days and then we'd forget about it."
Outfielder Nick Markakis made his fourth career start at first base on Sunday, and could continue as the Birds' short-term solution at the position.
• After winning their first three series of the season, the Pirates have dropped the last five.
• Orioles righty Bud Norris was fine after a side session on Sunday and will make his scheduled start on Wednesday against the Pirates.
• Monday is the Bucs' first off-day after 20 consecutive game days; they went 6-14 during that stretch.
• Baltimore rehabbing lefty Johan Santana will pitch in a simulated game on Monday in Sarasota, Fla. He's slated to throw three innings or 45 pitches.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.