The surging Baltimore Orioles are riding a five-game winning streak as they prepare to host the Washington Nationals on Tuesday in the second contest of the four-game, home-and-home series. Baltimore improved to 26-14 at home against the Nationals with Monday’s 6-4 victory and has not lost the Beltway Series since 2007.
Ace Max Scherzer will look to cool off the Orioles when he goes for his fifth win and looks to halt Washington’s two-game skid, which followed a four-game winning streak. Bryce Harper returned to the Nationals’ lineup on Monday after missing the previous three games with a groin injury and went 2-for-3 with a home run, boosting his season batting average to .385. Rookie Trey Mancini extended his torrid stretch in the series opener, clubbing one of Baltimore’s three first-inning homers, and is 10-for-16 with two homers and eight RBIs during a five-game hitting streak. Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph tied a career high with four hits, matching his total during his previous seven games (4-for-24).
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Max Scherzer (4-2, 2.66 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Ubaldo Jiménez (1-1, 6.58)
Scherzer is coming off an overpowering effort, allowing a solo homer among two hits while striking out 11 in seven innings against Arizona. It was the third win in his last four starts for Scherzer, who has yielded five homers over his last three turns. Scherzer dominated the Orioles with eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball in August, but Adam Jones is 12-for-25 with three homers against him.
Jimenez skipped his last scheduled start after the Orioles were forced to use him out of the bullpen the previous day. The 33-year-old Dominican turned in two straight dismal starts, lasting 3 1/3 innings in each and giving up a combined 10 runs, but he tossed three scoreless innings in the relief stint. Jimenez owns a 6-2 record and 2.24 ERA in nine career starts against the Nationals.
1. A second MRI exam on Orioles closer LHP Zach Britton (left forearm strain) did not reveal anything new.
2. Nationals OF Jayson Werth is 10-for-18 during a four-game hitting streak.
3. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop has reached base in a career-long 23 straight games.
PREDICTION: Nationals 4, Orioles 3