WASHINGTON, D.C. — Beginning on Tuesday, the Orioles started a journey that will have them play 22 games in 22 days. Two comeback performances had the O’s sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in a quick two-game series at Camden Yards, and tonight the inter-league play continues with a makeup game against the Washington Nationals in our nation’s capital.
Tonight’s ballgame is the final game in a four-game series, famously named “The Battle of the Beltways.” The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, May 11, but rain forced the two teams to find another day to get the game in.
So far, Baltimore leads the season series with Washington, 2-1. The Orioles took the first two games of the series, played at Camden Yards, 6-4 and 5-4 (12 innings). In the first game, the Birds hit three home runs in the first inning off the bats of Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo, and Trey Mancini. Kevin Gausman had a solid outing, going seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits, a walk, and eight strikeouts. In game two, Trumbo hit a walk-off single off Jacob Turner. The win was the sixth straight for the Orioles, and gave them the best record in baseball at the time.
The next night in Washington, the Nationals had a walk-off win of their own when former Oriole Matt Wieters hit a two-run single in the ninth inning to snap Baltimore’s winning streak. The loss sent Baltimore into a stretch where they lost six of seven games, and shortly thereafter the infamous seven-game losing streak took place from May 21-28.
As of this writing, the Orioles (31-26) are in third place in the American League East, 2.5 games behind the first-place Yankees (33-23). The Red Sox (32-26) are two games behind New York. The Nationals (37-21) sit very comfortably at the top of the National League East. The second-place Mets (25-32) are 11.5 games behind the Nats in the standings.
Orioles have travel advantage: Something to keep an eye on is that the Nationals are coming back from a nine-game road trip out west. Following their 2-1 loss to the Dodgers on Wednesday, the Nats headed home and are not receiving an off-day because of this makeup game. For sports teams, a west coast-to-east coast trip is a lot harder than an east coast-to-west coast flight because of the time zone difference, so the Orioles have a clear rest advantage going into Thursday night’s game.
Machado injured: Manny Machado left Wednesday night’s game against the Pirates after being spiked by Pittsburgh outfielder Andrew McCutchen. According to Orioles team doctors, Machado left due to “left wrist soreness.” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after the game that Machado had X-Rays on his wrist, which came back negative, but Machado will be getting an MRI done on Thursday to know what exactly the injury is. In Machado’s place, Ruben Tejada made his Orioles debut, going 0-4 with a strikeout.
So far this series – Orioles:
- Trumbo: four hits, four RBI
- Jonathan Schoop: four hits, one RBI
- Caleb Joseph: six hits, two RBI
- Brad Brach: two appearances (1.1 innings), four earned runs, six hits, two walks, one strikeout
So far this series – Nationals:
- Bryce Harper: four hits, two RBI
- Jayson Werth: four hits, one RBI
- Wieters: five hits, three RBI
- Blake Treinen: two appearances (two innings), one earned run, two hits, four strikeouts
Following tonight’s makeup game, the Orioles will head to New York to face Yankees in a three-game weekend series. The Orioles are 5-4 against the Yankees this season and 1-2 at Yankee Stadium.