Tonight, the Washington Nationals begin the four game battle of the beltway series against the Baltimore Orioles
While the Washington Nationals (73-50) did win three out of four games against the Braves at Turner Field this weekend, they did not play their best brand of baseball. The team made nine errors in the four games and blew a 6-3 lead in yesterday’s series finale.
On the positive side, the offense got Ryan Zimmerman back in the lineup at first base and scored 32 runs in the four games. As for Zimmerman, he went 4-for-5 with a home run in the series. Plus, Bryce Harper hit .407 during the last week with two home runs and ten RBI’s.
The Washington Nationals begin their four-game, two-venue battle of the beltway series tonight against the Baltimore Orioles (67-56). But, they won’t have Stephen Strasburg in their rotation as Strasburg went on the disabled list this afternoon because of right shoulder soreness:
As for the Orioles, they come into tonight’s game having lost the last three games of their series to the Houston Astros at Oriole Park. Buck Showalter’s squad is 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays in the AL East and only one game ahead of the Mariners for the second Wild Card spot.
The strength of this Orioles team is their offense, which has hit the most home runs of any team in baseball (192). They have four players with 20+ home runs, including right fielder Mark Trumbo (.255, 37 home runs, 90 RBI’s) and one of the frontrunners for MVP in third baseman Manny Machado (.303, 28 home runs, 74 RBI’s, .358 on-base percentage).
Right now, the main problem for the Orioles is their starting rotation. In the month of August, the O’s team ERA of 5.13 is the third highest in the American League. Their rotation ERA of 4.99 is the fourth highest in the AL this season.
Despite the struggles of the rotation, the bullpen has helped the O’s a lot this season. Their relievers have won 27 games, which is the second most of any AL this season. With Darren O’’Day on the disabled list (shoulder), two relievers to watch are closer Zach Britton (37-for-37 in saves, 0.54 ERA) and setup man Brad Brach (1.59 ERA in 54 games).
Before this series starts tonight, check out my breakdown of the four pitching matchups:
Next: Tonight's Matchup