Orioles vs. Nationals Series Preview

Here we have it. The first National League team the O’s will face. Luckily, this is probably the easiest one (along with the Pirates). Another thing working in our favor: Nationals Stadium is very close to Baltimore so there should be a good amount of O’s fans there.

Baltimore Orioles
2011 Regular Season Record:
Runs Allowed: Runs Scored:

Washington Nationals
2011 Regular Season Record: 20-23 (5th in NL East, 6.5 GB)
Runs Allowed: 157 Runs Scored: 153

Pitching Match-Ups

Friday May 20 (7:05 PM): RHP Jake Arrieta (5-1, 4.03 ERA) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (5-1, 3.54 ERA)
Arrieta is coming off another solid outing going 6 innings giving up only 2 runs and 4 hits with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts. He has proven himself to be right up there with Britton. They both always give good long outings, are consistent, and can be counted on to get a win. Arrieta has really gotten control of his fastball to use it effectively as well as developing his change-up even more which can be very good.

Marquis is coming off of 2 good starts, both of which are wins. One was against Atlanta where he pitched 7.1 innings giving up 7 hits and 3 runs. His last start came against the Marlins (who are surprisingly pretty good this year) where he went 6.2 innings giving up 6 hits and 4 runs (only 2 were earned). The O’s have a .317 batting average against him.

Saturday May 21 (4:05 PM): RHP Jeremy Guthrie (1-6, 3.91 ERA) vs. LHP John Lannan (2-4, 4.53 ERA)
Well Guthrie’s last outing doesn’t really count. He came in in the top of the 15th against the Yankees to pitch for 3 outs in a row to end the debacle Accardo and Gonzalez started. His real last outing as a starter came against Tampa Bay in which he pitched a compete game giving up only 3 runs and on 7 hits with 5 strikeouts. All of those runs came from long balls, which is what he has struggled with this season. That and the lack of run support he gets from the offense. He undeservedly got the loss in his last outing because the O’s bats failed to score a single run. He deserves to have 5 of those losses as wins or at least no decisions. I really feel bad for the guy. I’m hoping the offense can break out against Lannan to give Guthrie a win finally.

Lannan is also coming off of 2 quality starts (the team won both but he got the no decision both times). IN the most recent game, he went 6.1 innings giving up 7 hits and only 2 runs. In his other start, he went 6 innings with 2 runs scored on 5 hits. This is going to be a really good match-up between these 2 pitchers. The O’s are only batting .180 against him, but they haven’t seen him too often.

Sunday May 22 (1:35 PM): RHP Chris Tillman (2-3, 5.35 ERA) vs. RHP Jordan Zimmerman (2-4, 4.13 ERA)
Tillman has been very all over the place this season but his last two starts have resulted in a dominant win and an unfortunate no decision, respectively. The win came against the Mariners in which he went 6 innings giving up only 1 run on 3 hits with 3 walks and 7 strikeouts. His latest start was against the Red Sox in which he pitched a 5-inning 5-hit shut-out. I was confused as to why he left the game so early since he was doing very well and had thrown 88 pitches, which wasn’t enough to keep him from going at least 6 but I later learned that he was taken out after feeling some pain (I’m not sure when). Unfortunately, this is the game where the bullpen completely imploded handing him the no decision (at least it wasn’t a loss). Hopefully he continues this and doesn’t revert back to his not-so-good self.

Damn, Zimmerman is ALSO coming off of 2 strong starts (no decisions) against both the Braves and Marlins. Against Florida, he pitched 6 innings giving up only 2 runs on 5 hits and against Atlanta he went 6.1 innings giving up only 3 runs on 5 hits with 11 strikeouts. It looks like this entire series is going to be all about the starting pitching.

WHO’S HOT
Baltimore Orioles:

Well after a 4-1 loss and 13-2 loss, the offense is not doing anything but
Vladimir Guerrero: His batting average is finally up to .303 and in his last 7 days he’s batting .478 with 5 doubles and 3 RBIs.
Adam Jones: He’s close to batting .300 at .292 and over the last 7 days, he’s batting .333 going 8 for 24 with 2 RBIs and 5 runs scored.

Washington Nationals:

Ryan Zimmerman: He’s currently batting .357 but with only 1 HR and 4 RBIs. In the last week, he’s batting .400 but with only 5 plate appearances.
Drew Storen: The Nats closer has a microscopic 0.38 ERA with 9 saves and 19 strikeouts. In his last week, he’s pitched 3 innings giving up 2 hits and fanning 4 with a 0.00 ERA. If we’re down in the top of the 9th, we have trouble on our hands.

WHO’S COLD
Baltimore Orioles:

Luke Scott: His batting average is down to .227 and he has yet to pass 6 HRs on the season. In his last week, he has a miserable average of .053 going just 1 for 19 with a double and 5 walks.
Mike Gonzalez: We all know how bad he’s been recently so I’m sorry to make you relive it. His last week consisted of 1.1 innings pitched with 5 hits and 6 runs, only 2 of them being earned.

Washington Nationals:
Jayson Werth: In his last week, he’s gone only 6 for 21 (.286) with 3 runs scored and 4 walks. He only has 6 homers on the season and 14 RBIs (less than Luke Scott who’s making a whole lot less than him).
Adam LaRoche: He has a miserable batting average of .172 and in his last 7 days, he’s gone 0 for 23 with 2 walks.

As for injury updates go, I wrote a post about that yesterday.
Oh and both Tory Patton and Chris Jakubauskas were sent back down last night after they both pitched in the 13-2 loss against the Yankees.

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