Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Orioles (9/21-9/23)

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Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

 Chris Tillman (9-11, 5.19) vs. Tanner Roark (4-6. 4.73) – 7:05 PM, MASN

Coming into the season, there were high expectations on Chris Tillman after going 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA last year. However, it’s been the exact opposite for Tillman this season. The 27-year-old right-hander hasn’t given up fewer than three runs in an outing since August 17 against the A’s, which was the last time he got a win.

In his last start against the Rays on September 17, Tillman went 5.2 innings, gave up three runs on five hits, struck out four, and walked three in a no-decision. So far, in four starts this month, Tillman is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA and he has failed to make it through six innings in either of those games.

Back on July 10, Tillman went six innings, gave up two runs on eight hits, struck out six, and walked one in a no-decision against the Nationals. He has not recorded a decision in four starts vs. the Nats (4.37 ERA). Anthony Rendon is 1-for-3 against him with a home run and two RBI’s in his career.

For Tanner Roark, the last couple of weeks are all about making a good impression to stay in consideration for the 2016 rotation. Since going back to the rotation, Roark has only finished five innings one time and has not thrown more than 80 pitches.

In his last outing against the Marlins on September 17, Roark went five innings, but gave up six runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked none in a loss. His command was better as he threw 54 of his 80 pitches for strikes, but he has had trouble facing a lineup the second time through (.333 opponents’ batting average).

In a loss to the Orioles on July 10, Roark was the pitcher that gave up the walk-off home run to Jonathan Schoop in a 3-2 O’s win. He is 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in his career vs. Baltimore. Gerardo Parra (.291, 14 HR, 46 RBI’s) is 3-for-7 with a home run and RBI against Roark.

Advantage: This game should be an offensive slugfest considering the way both pitchers are struggling at the moment. While I expect the Nats to do well against Tillman, Roark just hasn’t been able to go deep into the game and I like the O’s bullpen more than the Nats as of right now. For this game, give me the O’s to get the win because of their success in late game situations.

Next: Wednesday's Matchup