Series Preview: Orioles (27-23) @ Nationals (26-24), May 27-28

Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

Who will win the battle of the beltways?

Today the Orioles and Nationals begin a weird four game series that will span both cities. It's a new thing that MLB is doing this year with the so-called regional rivals. The first two games will be in DC then the teams will travel up 295 to play two games in Baltimore. This preview will only cover the first two games and another post will go up on Wednesday for the home series.

Since the Nationals came to DC in 2005 and were declared to be the O's rivals even though they are not, the Orioles have a 23-19 record against. 2012 is the only year since then that either team has been good, and while most thought the Nationals were the better team, the Oriole took the season series 4-2.

Game 1, 1:05pm: Jason Hammel (5.37 ERA) vs Gio Gonzalez (3.66 ERA)

CAREER NUMBERS Hammel vs. Nats Gonzalez vs O's
IP 46 1/3 30 1/3
ERA 3.3 3.26
WHIP 1.122 1.451
SLASH LINE (PAST TEAMS) .239/.274/.350 .270/.351/.313
SLASH LINE (CURRENT PLAYERS) .253/.312/.394 .282/.325/.359

Jason Hammel has had a lot of success against the Nationals over the years, but most of those starts came when Hammel was on the Rockies. He made two starts against them in 2012. One was fantastic (8 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K) and the other was not (5 1/3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 5 K). Hammel has also been a different, much less effective pitcher this season, but he is coming off of his best start of the year when he pitched 6 2/3 innings with 2 runs against the Yankees.

Ryan Zimmerman has 23 career plate appearances against Hammel with a hitting line of .333/.391/.571. No other current Nat has more than 14 PA against him.

Gio Gonzalez is a lefty who was tough on the Orioles when he was with the A's, but the Orioles missed him last year when they played the Nationals. The two Orioles with the most plate appearances against Gonzalez are Adam Jones (16) and Matt Wieters (15). They've had opposite success against Gonzalez, with Jones hitting .188/.188/.188 (that's 3-for-16, all singles) and Wieters hitting .538/.600/.846 (7-for-14, 2B, HR, BB).

Game 2: Kevin Gausman (7.20 ERA) vs TBD

I won't bother putting up a table for this one since Gausman is making his second major league start and the Nationals have just placed Ross Detwiler on the disabled list without naming a starter who will replace him in the game.

Hopefully Gausmania will sweep DC in this game and young Kevin will have better results than he did in Toronto. As has been discussed previously, there was plenty of promise in Gausman's start, and hopefully now that he has the jitters out he'll have a bit more control.

The last time the Nationals needed a spot starter, they turned to Zach Duke. Duke is a lefty in the bullpen who hasn't appeared since May 20th when he started against the Giants and gave up four runs in 3 1/3 innings . In his 15 innings out of the bullpen, Duke has given up 14 earned runs with four walks and six strikeouts.

Nationals Injuries

As already mentioned, Detwiler is on the DL with a strained oblique. Jayson Werth and Wilson Ramos are both on the DL with a hamstring issue, and Bryce Harper will probably not appear in this series. He was taken out of yesterday's game with a hurt knee and while he's not going on the DL (at least not yet), the Nationals want to rest his knee.

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