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Friday night Orioles game thread: vs. Nationals, 7:05 PM

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Maikel Franco is back from the injured list and Jorge Lopez is on the mound as the Orioles take on their regional rivals.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles’ interleague regional rivals make their way to Baltimore this weekend after the Nationals swept all three games in D.C. earlier this season. Washington enters play 45-50 and six games out in the NL East, and as Mark Brown pointed out in the series preview, the outcome of these next three games may well help determine whether the Nats become buyers or sellers at next week’s trade deadline.

The Nationals have plenty to play for. The Orioles? Not so much. It’s just another three games on the schedule as they continue their inexorable slog to the end of a dismal season. Can you feel the excitement?

Veteran lefty Patrick Corbin, in the midst of a brutal year for the Nats, makes the start. The Orioles have roughed him up in his last two outings against them: a five-inning, five-run start in 2020 and an 11-hit, four-run thumping earlier this year, in which he got the win anyway because Orioles pitchers were worse.

Jorge Lopez counters for the Orioles, fresh off yet another start in which he imploded in the dreaded fifth inning, getting pulled after 4.2 in Kansas City in an eventual O’s win. He faced the Nationals earlier this year and it was one of his better outings — he tied his season high with eight strikeouts, allowed only two runs, and actually got through the fifth inning — but he took the loss.

The Nationals’ lineup includes former Orioles dud Gerardo Parra, who’s back Baby Shark-ing it with the Nats after a year in Japan, as well as Alcides Escobar, who spent 2019 spring training with the Orioles but was released before Opening Day. For the Orioles, Maikel Franco is back in the lineup for the first time since June 30, when he sprained his ankle on the last play of the game in Houston. The O’s activated him from the injured list this afternoon.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
RF Austin Hays
DH Trey Mancini
1B Ryan Mountcastle
SS Ramon Urias
C Pedro Severino
3B Maikel Franco
LF Ryan McKenna
2B Pat Valaika

RHP Jorge Lopez

Nationals lineup:

2B Alcides Escobar
SS Trea Turner
LF Juan Soto
1B Josh Bell
DH Ryan Zimmerman
3B Josh Harrison
LF Gerardo Parra
C Tres Barrera
CF Andrew Stevenson

LHP Patrick Corbin