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Game 45: Nationals (21-24) @ Orioles (20-24), 1:35pm

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Hold on to your butts, ladies and gentlemen. It's a Chris Tillman start today. Tillman's riding a streak of two straight non-sucky starts, although he only went five innings in the last one and we all know how that one ended up once the bullpen got into the game. We've never quite seen that guy who strikes out a batter per inning like he did in the minor leagues. We see a lot of the guy who gets two strikes on hitters and then can't put them away. If he ever gets something resembling command, it could be a different story. But he is still just 23 years old and this is supposed to be the year where we finally let him get his development time in the majors. Sometimes that involves the rough starts.

Well, that's the theory, anyway, but who knows if the FO will stick to it. Brian Matusz could be coming off the DL soon and Tillman could be shifted into the bullpen or Norfolk. One of those two same fates could also await Brad Bergesen. Personally, I'd DFA Michael Gonzalez and put Bergesen in the bullpen, but strangely, nobody asked me.

So, here's the deal. The Nationals offense still sucks. I'm doubling down on this claim in spite of Friday's 17 run juggernaut and regardless of whatever they get off of Tillman today. Without Ryan Zimmerman, they are bad. Actually, Jayson Werth also is not terrible. Were it not for an error yesterday they would have managed no runs off of Jeremy Guthrie.

The Orioles' offense is no longer supremely awful. We have ascended from the sub-.300 OBP depths to a just-below-league-average .317 team OBP. This ascent would have been a lot more noticeable were it not accompanied by the sucktacular bullpen we've seen all season long but especially over the last week or so. That the team has accomplished this in spite of Luke Scott sinking into one of his Luke Scott cold streaks, with his slugging percentage dropping over 100 points since May 1, is impressive. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are starting to maybe look like major league hitters. Nick Markakis has 13 hits in his last 7 games, which would sound a lot more impressive if more than two of them were for extra bases.

Today's Nats starter is Jordan Zimmermann. I know nothing about this Zimmermann except that his name has two n's and that he is an NL pitcher who has not previously demonstrated success in the AL. In spite of all that improved offense stuff from the previous paragraph I still expect to be perfect gamed.