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Bird Watching - O's Continue To Own The Nats and Take 3/4 From Them

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Last week the Orioles played some of the worst and uninspired baseball I’ve seen this season. The Boston two game series is one I will erase from my mind forever, gone, won’t even talk about it. Midas whale do the same with the Houston series. The O’s started hot against the Astros winning 13-5 in Game 1, went crazy in the first inning of game 2, becoming the first team ever to hit four home runs before recording an out to start the game. Then Wade Miley pissed down his leg and gave that lead right back, the O’s lost that game 15-8, and lost the next two by a combined score of 17-5. In the Houston series they gave up 37 runs in all, not how you want to try and claw back into the division race.

So after losing 5 out of 6 and falling to third place without their ace, naturally the O’s took 3/4 from the team with the second best record in baseball, the Nationals. Heading into their series in New York, the O’s have gained some ground in the division and now have a record of 70-57, and sit a game back on Boston and Toronto, and have a 2 game lead over Detroit for the second wild card. If they can hold this lead or gain anymore ground without Chris Tillman for the foreseeable future will be interesting. When they notched their 69th win the other night, it tied the Sports Illustrated’s prediction for their win total for the season, great job by their experts predicting that.

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Battle Of The Beltways

Always a pleasure when the Nats and O’s play each other, mostly because the O’s absolutely own the Nationals. Since 2006 the Orioles are 36-24 against their neighbors. Last week it looked like we would get some absolutely fantastic pitching matchups, Dylan Bundy vs Stephen Strasburg on Monday, and Chris Tillman Vs Max Scherzer on Thursday. We got neither of those. Strasburg went on the DL on Monday afternoon, and Tillman followed soon after that. Even with Scherzer pitching an absolute gem (8 IP, 2 H, 10K) and shutting out the O’s, Baltimore still outscored the Nats 22-11.

Game 1 had Dylan Bundy give up two runs over six innings and the offense got a league-leading 38th homer from Mark Trumbo, and another shot from Jonathan Schoop as the O’s won that game 4-3. Game 2 gave us Kevin Gausman vs Reynaldo Lopez. Gausman finally got some run support and threw six shut out innings and the Orioles offense jumped all over the young National and beat him up pretty good. The O’s won 8-1 thanks to Chris Davis’ 30th homer of the year, with all his struggles, he’s still putting up the power numbers we are used to seeing him have.

After the O’s took the first two in Baltimore, the series headed down I-95 as they headed to DC. The third game started much like the previous one, as the Orioles jumped all over the Nats starter. Tanner Roark, normally good, let up four runs in the 1st inning, and another one in the second, giving the O’s a 5-1 lead after two innings. The O’s had a nice comfy 10-3 cushion heading into the ninth before Parker Bridwell allowed a grand slam to Daniel Murphy to make it 10-7, when they then brought Zach Britton into the game.

It appeared the best closer in baseball was not anticipating coming into a 10-3 game at any point, and he did not seem ready to pitch. He warmed up hella quick, came in and gave up a single to Bryce Harper, and then a double to Anthony Rendon, and just like that, Britton’s 43 game streak of not giving up a run was over. I guess that Cy Young talk is over, but still an unbelievable run he was on. Britton composed himself and closed the game out for a 10-8 win, guaranteeing the O’s a series win over the Nats.

Scherzer was just his normal stud self in game 4, and the O’s couldn’t touch him, nothing wrong with laying an egg against him, I’ll gladly take 3/4 from them. I will eat this crow and give Ubaldo his credit. He started in place of Chris Tillman, and walked the walk. 6 IP and only gave up one run WITHOUT WALKING ANYONE. Nice to see Ubaldo have this type of outing after not starting since July 28th, hopefully if he starts again in Tillman’s place, he can recreate this outing and keep the O’s in a position to win.

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Somethings I picked up from this series-

-Trea Turner is fucking good. At one point he went 8 at-bats in-a-row with a hit, and you know he’s going to try and steal every single time. Matt Wieters threw him out twice in the series, and both had to be reviewed to confirm. He tracked down two Adam Jones fly balls that likely would have been triples if there was anyone else in center field, guy has all 5 tools. I have no idea why the Nats haven’t had him up forever, he’s easily one of their top guys. Just an absolute stud baseball player who is going to be a problem for years, very fun to watch, and I’m glad the Orioles don’t have to see him 19 times a year.

-Manny Machado absolutely LOVES hitting against the Nats and in Nats park. He is now batting .369 (27/73) with four doubles, five homers, and 12 driven in. In Nats park, Manny is hitting .425 (17/40) with three homers, and nine driven in. Even with his success against Washington, he can’t hit Scherzer for shit, after this game he is now 1-18 with a homer off Scherzer.

-Bryce Harper can’t hit against the O’s. He’s batting .228 (16/70) with one home run, three driven in, and 17 Ks. So when he eventually becomes a Yankee, he will continue to suck against the Birds.

People are asking if this is a rivalry, depends on who you ask. Both teams have to win for it to be a rivalry, and rich now, the Nationals don’t beat the O’s consistently enough for it to be a considered a rivalry.  It’s hard to say so when every year the Nats have a better team, have all the magazine covers, picked to make the World Series every year, yet the O’s just come in and handle them, every single time. The Nats fans complain about the O’s coming into their stadium, yelling “O” during the anthem, and beating their team. Not Baltimore’s fault that Washington isn’t a baseball town. Also not Baltimore’s fault that 90% of Nats fans grew up loving Cal Ripken Jr, have his jersey hanging up, and didn’t bother paying attention to the Nats until they drafted Stras and Harper. Maybe next year the Nationals can beat the O’s in a season series for the first time since 2007, but first I think they should worry about winning a playoff series, something they have never done. Also hearing fans say this was “The O’s World Series”, couldn’t be farther from the truth, just always a pleasure to beat the guys from down the block who feel they are king in the castle when they haven’t had a lick of postseason success, ever.

Upcoming Schedule

Friday, August 26 @ New York- Yovani Gallardo (4-5 5.08) vs Luis Cessa (3-0 4.01)

Saturday, August 27 @ New York- Dylan Bundy (7-4 3.33) vs Chad Green (2-3 3.66)

Sunday, August 28 @ New York- Kevin Gausman (5-10 3.92) vs Michael Pineda (6-10 5.02)

Monday, August 29 vs Toronto- Wade Miley (8-10 5.51) vs Marco Estrada (7-6 3.47)

Tuesday, August 3o vs Toronto- Ubaldo Jimenez (5-11 6.62) vs J.A. Happ (17-4 3.19)

Wednesday, August 31 vs Toronto- Yovani Gallardo (4-5 5.08) vs Aaron Sanchez (12-2 2.99)