Washington Nationals Analysis: Second Half Preview
By Matt Weyrich
Jul 1, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones (10) doubles in the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
The Beltway Battle may not mean much in terms of the Pennant Race, but in recent years, it has always been a dog fight between two top teams in the league. The Baltimore Orioles (44-44) may only be in 3rd place in the AL East, but sit only four games behind the 1st place New York Yankees (48-40), and 3.5 games back of the Houston Astros (49-42) in the Wild Card race.
The Orioles pitching staff has been league average thus far this season. While Ubaldo Jimenez (7-4, 2.81) has had a career resurrection and Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78) has performed steadily, Chris Tillman (6-7, 5.40) and Bud Norris (2-9, 6.86) have been massive disappointments for this Baltimore club. The bullpen, on the other hand, has been nothing short of fantastic, sporting two All Stars in closer Zach Britton (1.72, 23 saves) and lefty Darren O’Day (5-0, 1.07).
On the offensive side, the O’s live and die by the long ball, sitting fourth in the American League in home runs. Not a single member of the Orioles’ starting lineup is currently hitting above .300, but All-Stars Adam Jones (.281/.326/.490) and Manny Machado (.298/.361/.525) have put together nice seasons up to this point.
The September set with Baltimore (Sept. 21-23 at Nats Park) will be the Nats’ only interleague series in the second half of the season, as the team had already played the rest of their scheduled AL teams prior to the All-Star Break. With players scheduled to return soon and a Pennant Race that is sure to go down to the wire, it’s looking like a fun rest of the season for the Washington Nationals