Results tagged ‘ Battle of the Beltways ’

What to Watch for: 5.29.13

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Washington Nationals (27-25) vs. Baltimore Orioles (28-24)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-2, 1.71) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (4-2, 3.68) 

The Nationals blasted four home en route to a 9-3 victory and a split of the home half of this year’s Battle of the Beltways. The series shifts north up I-95 for the final two games as Jordan Zimmermann looks for his league-leading ninth win in Washington’s lone trip to the Charm City this season.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Bernadina RF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore LF

7. Tracy DH

8. Suzuki C

9. Espinosa 2B

RHP Zimmermann

A WINNING MAY IS JUST A VICTORY AWAY

The Nationals are 14-11 in May with three games remaining on the month. Thus, Washington is one win shy of clinching a winning May, which is no small feat considering 18 of May’s 28 contests are road contests and the weighted winning percentage of the Nationals nine opponents in May is .508. Dating to September 2011, the Nationals have played winning baseball in seven of the last eight months.

THE AMERICAN WAY

The Nationals are 6-1 this season against the American League (3-0 vs. Chicago, 2-0 vs. Detroit, 1-1 vs. Baltimore). Washington is also 24-16 in interleague play since the beginning of 2011 and the corresponding .600 winning percentage paces National League clubs (fourth in MLB) during that two-plus year span.

TEN-ARD SPAN?

Denard Span has hit safely in nine straight games at a .317 clip (13-for-41) with three doubles, a triple, four runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base. Span is one game shy of registering the fifth double-digit hit streak of his career. In Span’s final campaign with the Twins (2012), he posted a career-high 12-game hit streak from April 18-May 1.

What to Watch for: 5.28.13

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Baltimore Orioles (28-23) vs. Washington Nationals (26-25)

RHP Kevin Gausman (0-1, 7.20) vs. RHP Nathan Karns (0-0, 0.00) 

The bats never got hot as the Nationals dropped the first game of the 2013 Battle of the Beltways yesterday. Washington looks to turn it around in a clash of rookie pitchers in the final game of a five-game homestand. Right-handed prospect Nathan Karns will get the start for the Nats, while the Orioles will put 22-year-old Kevin Gausman, who is making his second big league start, on the mound.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore LF

7. Bernadina RF

8. Suzuki C

9. Karns RHP

HERE’S TO A SWEET 16TH

Tonight, Nathan Karns will become the first pitcher to make a Major League debut for the Nationals in a starting role since Tommy Milone burst on the scene on September 3, 2011 vs. the New York Mets in a start that is likely best remembered for him homering on the first pitch he saw. Karns will be the 16th pitcher to debut in the big leagues in a starting role for the Nationals. The Nationals are 9-6 in these 15 debuts and the starters in those games are collectively 4-5 with a 5.40 ERA (45 ER/75.0 IP). The most recent of these 15 neophytes to pocket a debut win was Stephen Strasburg, June 10 vs. Pittsburgh.

LONG STREAK OF LONG BALLS

The Nationals have hit at least one home run in 72 consecutive series. The last time Washington played a homerless series was during a four-game set at Citi Field, September 12-15, 2011. As the Nationals did not homer in yesterday’s two-game series opener, the streak is on the line tonight.

STINGY WITH THE LONG BALL

Jim Lett’s bullpen has not allowed a home run at Nationals Park since April 12. Since then, Nationals relievers have tossed 46.2 homerless innings of relief at home, good for a 2.89 ERA over that span.

What to Watch for: 5.27.13

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Baltimore Orioles (27-23) vs. Washington Nationals (26-24)

RHP Jason Hammel (6-2, 5.37) vs. LHP Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 3.66) 

After a slow start to yesterday’s game, the Nationals posted their highest single-inning output this season when they scored five times in the seventh. With Gio Gonzalez on the mound today, the Nats look to keep their bats hot as they face the Orioles in the first game of the 2013 Battle of the Beltways.

NATIONALS LINEUP:

1. Span CF

2. Lombardozzi 2B

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Desmond SS

6. Moore LF

7. Bernadina RF

8. Suzuki C

9. Gonzalez LHP

SUNDAY BEST

Washington topped the Phillies, 6-1, in the rubber game of a three-game set on Sunday at Nationals Park as Stephen Strasburg tossed 8.0 innings of one-run ball to out duel fellow-San Diego native Cole Hamels. In their first career matchup, Strasburg and Hamels matched zeros through six innings, but the Nationals broke the scoreless seal as Michael Young’s throwing error (at home plate) on Jhonatan Solano’s bags-loaded, 60-foot dribbler begat a five-run uprising in the seventh. Strasburg helped his own cause with two hits, including a double.

THE AMERICAN WAY

The Nationals are a perfect 5-0 this season against the American League (2-0 vs. Detroit, 3-0 vs. Chicago). Washington is also 23-15 in interleague play since the beginning of 2011 and the corresponding .605 winning percentage paces National League clubs (fifth in Major League Baseball) in that two-plus year span.

10 AGAIN

With 10-, 11- and 10-hit efforts the last three days, the Nationals have tallied three straight double-digit hit totals for the first time since sweeping a three-gamer from the White Sox, April 9-11 in D.C. (13, 11, 10).

What to Watch for: 6/22

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Washington Nationals (40-27) vs. Baltimore Orioles (39-30)

RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.92) vs. RHP Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.87)

After recovering to win the final two games of their series against the Rays, the Nationals kick start a 10-day road trip in Baltimore with the Battle of the Beltways. Earlier in the season, Washington’s American League neighbor took two of three in the Nation’s Capital. The Nationals will look to return the favor and improve upon their 15-5-3 series record this weekend.

NATIONALS LINEUP

1. Lombardozzi LF

2. Harper CF

3. Zimmerman 3B

4. LaRoche 1B

5. Morse DH

6. Desmond SS

7. Espinosa 2B

8. Bernadina RF

9. Flores C

J. Zimmermann RHP

FORTY-SOMETHINGS

At 40-27, the Nationals reached the 40-win plateau in fewer games (67) than any DC-based team since the 1933 American League Champion Nationals (40-23, 63 games).

DAVEY’S CHARM

This weekend, Davey Johnson returns to Oriole Park in uniform for the first time in nearly 15 years. With Baltimore, Davey helped the O’s claim four AL flags (1966, ‘69-‘71) and two World Championships (1966, ‘70). He also played in three All-Star Games (1968-‘70) and won three Gold Gloves (1969-‘71) as an Oriole. Johnson also managed the O’s for two seasons (1996-’97), compiling a 186-138 (.574) record winning AL Manager of the Year in 1997.

HARP-WARMING TALE

In 27 games dating back to a 9-3 win on May 20 vs. Baltimore, Bryce Harper is hitting .327 (34-for-104) with four doubles, three triples, five homers, 15 RBI, 14 walks and 21 runs scored (.974 OPS).

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Battle of the Beltways

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The Battle of the Beltways takes on extra significance in 2012.

Major League Baseball introduced Interleague Play in 1997, eliciting a mixed reaction from fans. Some purists were upset with the break from tradition, while others welcomed the chance to see players from the opposite league they would only otherwise be able to see play by traveling, or if, by chance, they happened to be the opponent of the hometown nine in the World Series. Regardless of the initial reactions, Interleague Play has been largely a success, with perhaps its greatest victory lying in the regional rivalries it has created.

The geography of MLB as it exists today leads to natural, metropolitan Interleague rivalries in 10 regions:

-       Subway Series: Yankees vs. Mets

-       Freeway Series: Dodgers vs. Angels

-       Cross-town Classic: Cubs vs. White Sox

-       Bay Bridge Series: A’s vs. Giants

-       I-70 Series: Cardinals vs. Royals

-       Ohio Cup: Reds vs. Indians

-       Lone Star Series: Rangers vs. Astros

-       Citrus Series: Marlins vs. Rays

-       (No official name, but battle of former AL rivals): Twins vs. Brewers

-       And of course, the Battle of the Beltways: Nationals vs. Orioles

While the D.C./Baltimore rivalry has often lacked in relevance to the overall postseason picture, there has nevertheless been a slowly developing importance to this series. As the Nationals only entered the picture in 2005, and the teams didn’t actually face each other until ‘06, there has been less time to build the momentum of a true rivalry, but 2012 should help accelerate that process. Never have these two teams met with as good a combined record as they do beginning Friday night in the Nation’s Capital.

With Stephen Strasburg throwing the series finale, expect high drama on Sunday.

Baltimore is the surprise of the American League East so far this season. Despite often getting out of the gates well over the last 10 seasons, few expected the Orioles to be on top of one of the toughest divisions in the game in mid-May. Their record entering Friday stands at 25-14, one game up on the Tampa Bay Rays and four clear of third-place Toronto. If the season ended today, shockingly, the Yankees would finish fourth and the Red Sox fifth.

The Nationals, meanwhile, have occupied the top spot in the NL East for much of the season, but come into the series trailing the Braves by a half-game at 23-15. Needless to say, the teams’ combined record of 48-29 is by far the best of any geographic rivals matching up this weekend (the Florida teams are second-best at 44-33).

This series promises meaningful games and, if precedence holds, some really compelling drama as well. Of the 36 total games played between the clubs, 23 have been decided by two runs or less, including 15 one-run contests. The Orioles own the slight overall edge, posting a 19-17 record since the inception of the Battle of the Beltways, but the Nationals have fared better as of late. Washington took four-of-six last year, and has won four of the last five games played between the two teams along the shores of the Anacostia.

The Sunday series finale might offer the best storyline of the series, with Stephen Strasburg slated to take on undefeated free agent acquisition Wie-Yin Chen in either a rubber-match or possible sweep scenario. Regardless of the outcome, D.C. and Baltimore baseball fans are set up for the most exciting weekend the Battle of the Beltways has ever seen.

The best of the Battle of the Beltways

Following the Expos move to the Nation’s Capital in 2005, the Battle of the Beltway became an annual six-game series in 2006. Tonight will be the decisive game 25–comparable to game seven of the World Series–all tied up at 12 apiece. The Nats are 21-21 on the season and are 12-12 against the O’s.

 

The Battle of the Beltway has provided a handful of suspenseful and magical games in the past four seasons. There have been nine one-run games, two walk-off wins and four extra-inning games.

 

Top-Five Games:

5. 6/13/07: Nats 9 – O’s 6–Former O’s outfielder Jay Payton drove in the tying RBI in the bottom of the ninth but the Nats loaded the bases with two-outs in the top of the 11th. Felipe Lopez was the hero when he tripled to right. The O’s were retired in order to end the game.

 

4. 5/20/07: Nats 4 – O’s 3–Former O’s pitcher Erik Bedard kept the Nats bats at bay for seven innings allowing just one run and striking out 12. But when Baltimore turned the game over to the bullpen in the bottom of the 8th, the Nats bats heated up and scored three runs in the bottom of the frame to win 4-3.

 

3. 5/18/08: Nats 2 – O’s 1–It was a pitching battle between John Lannan and Jeremy Guthrie. Lannan picked up the win going 7.1 innings allowing one run on four hits. Not to be outdone, Guthrie went 7.0 innings allowing one run on five hits. The difference was Ryan Zimmerman’s RBI double in the top of the 8th.

 

2. 6/24/06: Nats 2 – O’s 3–The game was tied 2-2 in the bottom of the ninth at Camden Yards and former Nats Closer Chad Cordero was one strike away from sending the game into extra-innings. The Birds had different plans. With runners on first and second, Catcher Ramon Hernandez hit the 3-2 pitch to left and the O’s celebrated at home plate.

 


062908-331 ronnie belliard c.JPG1. 6/29/08: Nats 3 – O’s 2–
There wasn’t much offense in the first 11 innings. The O’s and Nats entered the 12th tied 1-1. Adam Jones drove in Nick Markakis to give the O’s a 2-1 lead but the fireworks belonged to the Nats. In the bottom of the 12th, O’s closer George Sherrill walked Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard hit a 1-2 pitch with two outs into the left field seats for the comeback victory.

062908-359 ronnie belliard c.JPG

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