The Orioles are fresh off a sweep from the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, who came through Baltimore like a monsoon. The Rays put up 30 runs in that series, and the task gets no smaller against the Washington Nationals in this three-game series!
The first leg of the Beltway Series in 2021, the Orioles and Nationals face off from Nationals Park in Washington, DC. The Orioles will send Jorge López, Bruce Zimmermann, and Matt Harvey to the mound. Opposite of them, the Nationals will feature Stephen Strasburg, Jon Lester, and Patrick Corbin.
Some fortunate news, right fielder Anthony Santander has completed his rehab assignment and will be in the lineup for the Orioles this weekend! Hallelujah!
The Orioles have a chance to defend their MASN Cup, and these Baltimore Battery Keys to the Series is how they can do it!
1. Get after these National starters
So far, the ageless wonder Jon Lester has thrown pretty well. He has a 3.80 ERA but has gotten hit hard his last three starts, giving up nine runs and not going further than 5.1 innings. Patrick Corbin has also been hittable recently, and this will just be Stephen Strasburg’s third appearance this year. That being said, the Oriole offense, that will again include Anthony Santander, must pounce on these starters. There’s no doubt the Nat’s offense will get after our starters, so we must keep the pressure on a trio of pitchers, who make up the middle and back end of their rotation.
2. Bullpen needs to get back on their game
Believe it or not, the Orioles feature a bullpen that has been around top five in ERA in the A.L.; however, the Rays stomped all over that. The O’s bullpen gave up 17 runs in that series. It was really 18, but we’re going to dismiss the one run Stevie Wilkerson let up in game three. To win here, the bullpen must pick up the starters. Adam Plutko has struggled out of the pen recently, and arms like Tanner Scott, Paul Fry, and Cole Sulser must be able to be trusted in this series. If the Orioles can manage to hold this powerful lineup down later in the game, that will seriously help our chances.
3. Rally around Mancini
No doubt, Trey Mancini is the heart and soul of this team. Lately, he is playing like he could be the heart and soul of ANY team in this league. His 39 RBI are good for number one across the whole league. He is on a seven-game hit streak that features 11 hits, four doubles, three home runs, and 10 RBI.
If we can get half of that production from anyone else like Austin Hays or Anthony Santander in his return, that offense will be in a much better spot against pitching that has been hit this season. in order for Mancini to continue to drive in almost anyone, we need base runners. That comes down to Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and the bottom of the lineup being able to flip over with production.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups for game one:
Washington Nationals (17-23):
1. Trea Turner SS
2. Juan Soto RF
3. Josh Bell 1B
4. Kyle Schwarber LF
5. Starlin Castro 3B
6. Josh Harrison 2B
7. Yan Gomes C
8. Stephen Strasburg RHP
9. Andrew Stevenson CF
Baltimore Orioles (17-26):
1. Cedric Mullins CF
2. Austin Hays LF
3. Trey Mancini 1B
4. Anthony Santander RF
5. Freddy Galvis SS
6. Maikel Franco 3B
7. Stevie Wilkerson 2B
8. Chance Sisco C
9. Jorge López RHP
Game one of this Beltway Series begins tonight at 7:05 p.m. EST. You can catch each game on MASN, MASN2, or on the radio at 105.7 The Fan!
Give us your predictions for the Battle of the Beltway! Leave a comment down below, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!