BALTIMORE — The Orioles finished their longest road trip of the season this weekend with a series loss against Tampa Bay. The O’s managed a split against Chicago but dropped both series against their division opponents and now return home with a 4-7 record on the trip.

It’s a shame the Orioles dug themselves into this deep of a hole considering the west coast trip is already out of the way as well. We know the Orioles had one of the toughest schedules through the first month of the season but the road ahead looks much more friendly. Had the team floated around .500 early on, we would be having a much different conversation right now. However, there could still be a reason to celebrate in Baltimore this coming week.

Back in early May, Orioles General Manager Dan Duquette said that Memorial Day would be the benchmark for evaluating the future of the team. Nothing has changed between then in now. If anything it’s gotten worse for the Orioles as they enter this series with the worst record in the entire league. Fans can only hope this means a much needed sale is on the way. Manny Machado has continued to shine with MVP caliber numbers through the first two months, making him an even more attractive piece for contending teams. Separating with Machado would be tough for Orioles fans but it’s a reality many have come to terms with already.

Last meeting: The O’s and Nats were scheduled for a four game home-and-home series in early May last year. Being separated by less than 40 miles, each team hosted a pair of games that were meant to be played on consecutive days like a normal four game series. Due to a postponement, the final game was delayed a month but the series featured two walk off wins and each team won both of their home games to split the series 2-2.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Monday, May 28, 1:05 pm – Alex Cobb (1-6, 7.32 ERA) vs Gio Gonzalez (5-2, 2.38 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Tuesday, May 29, 7:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (3-6, 4.45 ERA) vs Jeremy Hellickson (1-0, 2.13 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Wednesday, May 30, 7:05 pm- David Hess (2-1, 4.15 ERA) vs Max Scherzer (8-1, 2.13 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Orioles:

  • The Orioles have played more interleague games against the Nationals than any other National league team in the past decade. Adam Jones is the longest tenured player on the current roster and has started 48 games against Washington in his career. Jones holds a .318 batting average with 11 home runs and 30 RBI’s against the Nationals which helps account for roughly a third of his homers and RBI’s in interleague play.
  • This will mark the fourth straight year where the Orioles have played at home on Memorial Day. They hold a 4-3 record on the holiday since 2011.
  • Since running into some trouble at the end of April, which saw his ERA increase to over 6.50, Brad Brach has managed to regroup and get back on track. The Orioles closer has given up just six hits and surrendered no runs in his last 7.2 innings of work dating back to May 6. Brach has also recorded five saves in that span.

Notes on Nationals:

  • Former Orioles slugger, Mark Reynolds signed a minor league contract with the Nationals in April and made his way up to the major league level earlier this month after Ryan Zimmerman hit the disabled list. Since then Reynolds is 12/27 at the plate with five home runs.
  • Gio Gonzalez is set to start in Monday’s series opener. The lefty has been impressive all season to earn himself a 5-2 record and 2.38 ERA. Just to give you an idea of how dominate he has been this season, Gonzalez’s worst start came on April 23 when he gave up three runs in five innings of work. His history against the O’s is pretty good but coincidentally this is the second time he will be starting a Memorial Day game against Baltimore. In 2013 the Orioles picked up four runs off of Gonzalez in route to a 6-2 win over the Nationals on Memorial Day.

Image credit: Nick Wass / Associated Press