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Monday night Orioles game thread: vs. Walgreens, 7:05

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Some call it the Battle of the Beltways. Others disdain this four-game annual obligation being given any nickname at all. Whatever you want to call it, it starts in Baltimore tonight.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

When the Orioles play their southern neighbors down I-95, this space is often reserved for mockery of that parasitical organization of the Mid-Atlantic that is attempting through skulduggery to essentially replace the Orioles.

Along with that generally comes mockery of front-running fans, who have turned traitor to their ancestral team, but I have recently had an epiphany that, in fact, so many of the people who now live in DC and who have probably adopted a pharmacy as their favorite baseball team have moved in since that franchise relocated from Montreal. If you woke up with no awareness of baseball and people around you were talking about a young, great player with a brash personality like Bryce Harper, perhaps you would also be drawn to this by proximity.

That same Harper happens to be the only left-handed power hitter in the history of baseball who does not like Oriole Park at Camden Yards, on which he has previously blamed poor lighting. Perhaps the new LED lights will be just what he needed, though of course I hope not.

Orioles fans, fortunately, do not have to worry about the grim fate of having to be bandwagon-jumpers rooting for that hair-icer, as we have a franchise with an actual history and some success in that history. When the Orioles have won in recent years, they have been forged in the fire of the American League East, an actual, perennially competitive division, whereas we see the National League counterpart is a joke year in and year out.

At present, the Walgreens company baseball team is the only team above .500 in its division! And yet people take this team's regular season success seriously. Sheesh. There is always the chance that this year could be their year, as those experienced DC region sports fans know well across all of the four major American professional sports.

None of which bluster means the Orioles will win tonight or in any one game of this upcoming series, because, for tonight in particular, the Washington team will send out a good starting pitcher, Gio Gonzalez, while the Orioles must counter with a pitcher everyone hopes will be good but never quite has been, Kevin Gausman.

If Gausman somehow has a good game, a narrative may take root that his undeserved early ejection in Boston sparked some kind of revival. Maybe the Orioles offense will decide they don't hate him tonight and will also score him some runs. He could also keep sucking, which wouldn't be much fun for those Orioles fans who are in the stadium tonight to get a Trey Mancini giveaway t-shirt.

Anyway, Jonathan Schoop is back in the lineup.

Today's Lineups

WASHINGTON NATIONALS BALTIMORE ORIOLES
Wilmer Difo - SS Joey Rickard - LF
Jayson Werth - LF Adam Jones - CF
Bryce Harper - RF Manny Machado - 3B
Ryan Zimmerman - 1B Mark Trumbo - RF
Daniel Murphy - 2B Chris Davis - 1B
Anthony Rendon - 3B Trey Mancini - DH
Adam Lind - DH Jonathan Schoop - 2B
Matt Wieters - C J.J. Hardy - SS
Michael Taylor - CF Caleb Joseph - C
Gio Gonzalez - LHP Kevin Gausman - RHP