Some days I find myself imagining what it might be like if the Orioles and Nationals were ever good at the same time. Either one of those conditions requires a lot of suspension of disbelief, of course. In this wild scenario I envision Columbia as a desolate, war-torn no-man's land. Although to be fair, I have this fantasy about Columbia for reasons that have nothing to do with baseball. What if Broken Land Parkway really was a broken land? What if the partisans of the orange and red skirmished daily on the Columbia Pike with the bodies of the losers choking the waters of Lake Kittamaqundi? Suppose there was a world where Hobbits Glen Golf Course was gradually overrun by mortar craters lobbed at the enemy within its confines. Sandbag checkpoints at every road crossing the Patuxent Freeway, where all northbound travelers must properly pronounce the word "hour" or have their vehicles, and lives, forfeit on the spot.
If we ever see that happen, it won't be in 2011. Both the Nats and the O's are situated in about the same place in terms of their record and position in the standings in their division, which is to say last place. The Nats' woes, much like the Orioles, have a lot to do with crappy offense, what with the Nats having the worst batting average in the majors. The Nats lineup features names like Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Cora, Rick Ankiel and Jerry Hairston Jr. They've got some second baseman I'd never heard of before right now whose name is Danny Espinosa who is batting .194. Near as I can tell he has played in every Nats game.
What the Nats do have is five starting pitchers who don't have terrible ERAs, which is more than the Orioles can say. The worst ERA of a Nats starter is 4.53 for John Lannan. Tonight's starter, Jason Marquis, has a 3.54 ERA. Longtime readers of the site will be unsurprised to learn that I give no credit whatsoever to middle-of-the-pack NL pitchers as actually being middle-of-the-pack, given that they get a free out every nine batters - and I'm not talking about the likes of Mark Reynolds either. Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, with a 4.03 ERA while pitching in the AL, could possibly have a sub-3.00 ERA in the NL.
If the Orioles follow the pattern of past years, they will easily dispatch the Nats in the first two games of this series and lose the Sunday game due to managerial incompetence. Now that we have Buck, maybe we can just go for the sweep? Go O's!
|Nationals (J. Marquis - R) @ Orioles (J. Arrieta - R)|