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Sunday afternoon Orioles game thread: at Nationals, 12:35

The Orioles have already won the series against the defending champs, and now they’ll go for a surprising sweep.

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New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

This Orioles team is a tough one to figure out, huh?

Two weeks ago, after the O’s were swept in two games by the Yankees, we thought we had them pegged. “Same old sorry Orioles,” we lamented. And then — a stunning three-game sweep of the Rays, which was not only the Birds’ first sweep since 2018, but also just the second time in the last 40 years that a defending 108-loss club had swept a defending playoff team (per Jayson Stark).

And suddenly O’s fans were riding high...until the decimated Marlins, a defending 105-loss club themselves, swept the Birds in four games in Baltimore. And it was back to gloom and doom for Orioles fans...until they rolled into D.C. and took the first two games against the reigning World Series champions, the first one an 11-0 thumping and the second a glorious, late-inning comeback.

This afternoon, the Orioles have a chance to pull off their second three-game sweep of a 2019 postseason team. It would mark the Birds’ fourth straight series of either sweeping or getting swept.

Like I said: tough to figure out.

The Birds are going a bit out of the box today in that they’re starting a pitcher on just three days’ rest, something they never did last season. It’ll be Asher Wojciechowski taking the hill; he last pitched in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Marlins. His battery mate will be third catcher Bryan Holaday, making his first start for the Orioles in place of Pedro Severino, who was hit in the hand in last night’s game. Jose Iglesias is also off as he recovers from his sore quad, and Chris Davis is off because...well, no explanation is needed.

Good luck to this lineup against Stephen Strasburg, who’s making his 2020 debut after a nerve issue in his hand sidelined him for the first two weeks.

Orioles lineup:

2B Hanser Alberto
RF Anthony Santander
1B Renato Nunez
3B Rio Ruiz
LF Dwight Smith Jr.
CF Austin Hays
DH Chance Sisco
SS Pat Valaika
C Bryan Holaday

SP Asher Wojciechowski