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Friday evening Orioles game-and-a-half game thread: vs. Nationals, 5:05

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The Orioles begin their scheduled three-game home series against the Nats tonight, but first they need to finish their rain-suspended contest from Sunday.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Woooo! The Orioles have a five-game winning streak!

Or...well...do they, though? It’s complicated.

Yes, the O’s have won the last five games they’ve completed: Friday and Saturday in D.C., and Tuesday through Thursday in Philadelphia. But in the middle of that streak, one game is still unfinished: the one they began Sunday at Nationals Park, which was suspended in the top of the sixth after Nats grounds crew ineptitude.

Tonight, the Orioles will pick up that game where they left off on Sunday, albeit in Baltimore instead of Washington, though the Nats will still act as the home team. The O’s are carrying a 5-2 lead in the top of the sixth, with runners at first and second and one out, with Pat Valaika the scheduled hitter. The Nats’ pitcher at the time of the delay was reliever Sam Freeman, but he definitely won’t be taking the mound when play restarts, considering he went on the injured list yesterday with a strained left flexor mass.

If the Birds are able to hold their lead for four more innings to seal the victory, they will have retroactively swept last weekend’s three-game series in Washington, and they’ll officially have a six-game winning streak. But if the Nats come back for the win, it will go into the books as last Sunday’s result, and the Birds’ current win streak will be reduced to three. Confused yet? Anyway, after that’s over, the O’s will play their regularly scheduled nine-inning game against the Nationals tonight, with Tommy Milone going against Stephen Strasburg (who was also the Nats’ starter for the suspended game).

It’ll be interesting to see how Brandon Hyde manages his bullpen for tonight’s game-and-a-half. Will he use all his best relievers for the completion of the suspended game, potentially making them unavailable for the night game? (He already can’t use Travis Lakins Sr. or Shawn Armstrong for the former, since they already pitched and exited Sunday’s game before the suspension.) Will Hyde try to eat up some innings in either game with a long reliever? Keegan Akin is still in the bullpen, waiting patiently to make his major league debut, and the O’s brought in a fresh arm today by calling up Chandler Shepherd (with David Hess getting sent down).

It’s a weird situation. But what situation in 2020 isn’t weird?