Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats At Orioles (7/10-7/12)

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Jun 21, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles opening pitcher Chris Tillman (30) pitches against Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 4.16 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (6-7, 5.87 ERA) – 7:05 PM ET, broadcast on MASN2 + WUSA9

Gonzalez was supposed to start Wednesday night’s game against the Reds before it got rained out. This will be the second straight start that the 29-year-old left-hander will throw on more than five days rest. During his career, he is 11-10 with a 4.13 ERA when he makes a start on six or more days rest, but he has a 2.70 ERA in two starts in those scenarios this season.

In his last start against the Giants on July 3, Gonzalez went seven innings, gave up one run on five hits, struck out six, and did not walk a batter. It was the first time all season that Gonzalez did not walk a batter in an outing. With this start being pushed back, Gonzalez will pitch on the road, where he has a 5.89 ERA in eight starts this season (2.44 ERA in seven home starts).

In seven career starts against the O’s, Gonzalez is 1-4 with a 3.80 ERA and he has not beaten Baltimore since 2009, when he was with the A’s. Catcher Matt Wieters (.240, 3 HR, 10 RBI’s) is 8-for-14 against him with one home run and four RBI’s.

As for Chris Tillman, he is a pitcher that some people thought could be the best starter in the AL East coming into the season. After going 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA a season ago, the 27-year-old right-hander has a 5.57 ERA and is fourth in the American League in walks with 37.

That being said, Tillman has gone seven straight outings without taking a loss (last loss came on May 31 vs. the Rays). In his last start, he gave up two runs on ten hits in 4.2 innings in a no decision against the White Sox on July 4. He has not struck out more than seven batters in a game this year and opponents are hitting .288.

Tillman has had three starts against the Nats in his career (4.86 ERA), but has yet to record a win. However, six of the eight runs he gave up came in one outing back in 2013. Yunel Escobar is 3-for-16 against Tillman with three walks.

Advantage: Both of these starters pitch to contact, so this could be a game that has a lot of offense in it. If that is the case, you have to give the edge to the Orioles based on the state of the Nats’ offense right now. Plus, Nationals hitters have ten RBI’s vs. Tillman. However, the players with those ten combined RBI’s are all out (Span, Anthony Rendon, Ryan Zimmerman).

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup

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