Where: Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
The Washington Nationals’ large lead in the National League East gives the team enough leeway to deal with an occasional losing streak or stint on the disabled list by a key player, but they would prefer to not deal with any of those issues. The Nationals will try to avoid a third straight setback when they visit the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday for the second of a four-game, home-and-home series that switches to Washington on Wednesday.
The Nationals had struggling ace Stephen Strasburg scheduled to go in Monday’s series opener but instead placed him on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the day and brought A.J. Cole back up from the minors to preside over a 4-3 loss. Cole, who struck out eight in seven innings on Monday, will continue to pitch in Strasburg’s place as Washington protects an eight-game lead over the Miami Marlins in the East. The Orioles don’t have the luxury of a big cushion in the American League wild-card race, where they are holding off the Seattle Mariners for the second spot. Baltimore snapped a three-game slide in Monday’s win and is two games behind the Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, who share the AL East lead and the top AL wild card.
PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Reynaldo Lopez (2-1, 4.37 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (4-10, 4.11)
Lopez has turned in two straight solid efforts since returning from the minors and is coming off the best outing of his young career. The 22-year-old Dominican struck out a season-high 11 while allowing one earned run and four hits in seven innings to earn a win over the Atlanta Braves. Lopez is making his first Beltway Series appearance and is 1-0 with 15 strikeouts in 11 total innings on the road.
Gausman is coming off a win over the Houston Astros on Thursday but struggled through his 6 2/3 frames, yielding five runs – four earned – on seven hits and a walk. The LSU product has been piling up big strikeout numbers with 17 in 10 2/3 innings over his last two outings. Gausman is making his third career start against Washington and is 1-1 with a total of 10 runs and 16 hits allowed in 10 innings.
1. Orioles RF Mark Trumbo is 6-for-34 in his last 10 games, and all six hits are home runs.
2. Washington 1B Ryan Zimmerman is 5-for-12 with a pair of extra-base hits in three games since returning to the lineup.
3. Baltimore 2B Jonathan Schoop homered in each of the last two games to reach 20 for the season.
PREDICTION: Orioles 6, Nationals 4