Nationals Meet Up With AL East Leading Orioles for Battle of the Beltways

The Washington Nationals (48-39) start their series with the Baltimore Orioles (48-40) tonight in what has been dubbed the Battle of the Beltways. The current version of this manufactured “rivalry” is played as a four-game series with two games at each stadium. Monday and Tuesday will be at Nationals Park before heading up I-95 to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for Wednesday and Thursday. All games will start at 7:05 pm EDT.

Offense over Pitching

Baltimore sports a potent lineup with guys like Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, and Steve Pearce, who is having a breakout season, which gives them the sixth-best offense, according to WAR, and they create 3% more runs than the average team, which is eighth-best in the league.

Where they really fall short: pitching. The only starter that has shown any real success this season is Kevin Gausman, who was just recently recalled from Triple-A to rejoin the rotation. Even with his good pitching in six starts, the O’s have the fifth-worst team pitching WAR in baseball and the second-worst FIP, behind only the Rockies. The Nats have an opportunity to tee off against a very disappointing pitching staff.

O’s All-Stars

Jones and Cruz lead their team in offensive production and will represent Baltimore in the All-Star Game next week. Jones boasts a .310/.334/.504 slash line with 16 home runs, while Cruz has a .290/.356/.502 line with a league-leading 27 homers.

Matt Weiters was also selected by fan balloting, despite that fact that he played in just 21 games and hasn’t appeared since May 10th after having Tommy John surgery in his throwing elbow.

(next three sections are stats from the last week)

In The Zone

Adam Jones (OF) .423 avg, 1.144 OPS, 0.6 WAR, 2 HR, 206 wRC+

Jayson Werth (OF) .450 avg, 1.560 OPS, 0.7 WAR, 2 HR, 321 wRC+

Who’s Hot?

Steve Pearce (1B/OF) .333 avg, 1.064 OPS, 0.5 WAR, 3 HR, 186 wRC+

Ryan Zimmerman (3B/OF) .524 avg, 1.274 OPS, 0.5 WAR, 253 wRC+

Who’s Not?

Chris Davis (1B/DH) .087 avg, .247 OPS, -0.4 WAR, 0 HR, -34 wRC+

Bryce Harper (OF) .190 avg, .499 OPS, -0.3 WAR, 0 HR, 28 wRC+

Probable Pitchers

7/7, RHP Chris Tillman (7-4, 4.21 ERA, 4.60 FIP, 5.50 K/9) vs. RHP Stephen Strasburg (7-6, 3.53 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 10.50 K/9)

7/8, LHP Wei-Yin Chen (8-3, 4.12 ERA, 4.43 FIP, 6.32 K/9)  vs. RHP Doug Fister (7-2, 2.93 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 5.35 K/9)

7/9, RHP Tanner Roark (7-6, 3.12 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 6.67 K/9) vs. TBD

7/10, LHP Gio Gonzalez (6-4, 3.52 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 9.16 K/9) vs. TBD

All statistics are courtesy of FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted.

Joe Drugan

About Joe Drugan

Joe is the Managing Editor of The Nats Blog and host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast. He's been blogging about the Nationals since 2010 and with The Nats Blog since 2011.