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The Thursday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Nationals, 4:05

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Did anyone out there imagine the Orioles would be going for the sweep of the Nationals in the final game of this series? Now they just have to get that sweep and get themselves back to .500.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On consecutive days, the Orioles have now won games started by Gio Gonzalez and Max Scherzer. The challenge awaiting them today is Tanner Roark, easily the weakest of the three named guys, who has pitched mostly out of the bullpen and has an ERA of almost 5. That ought to be the guy the Orioles paste handily, especially since he's allowed 14 home runs in only 93.1 innings, and we know how the Orioles love to hit home runs.

Whether they actually will, I don't know. We've seen plenty of games this year where they get inexplicably dominated by crappy pitchers. I guess it happens to everybody and it just frustrates us more when it happens to the Orioles.

Today's game represents a chance for a little redemption for Tyler Wilson. Maybe he'll even avail himself of the chance! The Nationals lineup, Bryce Harper excepted, is maybe a bit easier of a task for him, and he will certainly get to face a pitcher today, which always helps. He'll also get to bat! Chris Tillman was unable to follow in Ubaldo Jimenez's footsteps of getting an RBI. Maybe Tyler can surprise us all. Stranger things have happened, surely.

The Orioles could really stand to win this game, not because it would keep their very meager playoff hopes still alive (although it would), but because the immediate benefit is they'd be back up to a .500 record, needing only to play .500 the rest of the way to be at least .500. About those playoff hopes - they're four games back but only have 11 to play, and there are three teams to pass. MASN needs to stop talking about it. It's embarrassing.

Today's Lineups

Gerardo Parra - CF Anthony Rendon - 2B
Manny Machado - 3B Yunel Escobar - 3B
Chris Davis - 1B Bryce Harper - RF
Steve Pearce - LF Jayson Werth - LF
Matt Wieters - C Clint Robinson - 1B
Jonathan Schoop - 2B Ian Desmond - SS
Ryan Flaherty - RF Michael Taylor - CF
J.J. Hardy - SS Wilson Ramos - C
Tyler Wilson - RHP Tanner Roark - RHP