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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: vs. Nationals, 7:05

The Orioles quest for a winning June could sure use a two-game sweep of the Nationals - and that means winning tonight’s game 1.

Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles
Jordan Lyles was good in May. He has not been very good in other months this year.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Are the Orioles going to keep this better than expected thing they’ve got going on all year up for the remainder of the season? The next two games against an underachieving, loser Nationals squad with six fewer wins than the Orioles aren’t going to give us a final answer to that question. Tonight’s game will nonetheless make us feel like it’s going one way or the other. That’s just the way it goes.

My hopes remain that this is going to be the month where the Orioles break the streak of non-winning months. I don’t want that thing to stretch on to five years, you guys. With a 9-8 record already in the bank and nine games left to be played against below-.500 teams, this is the time to do it. Win tonight and then go 4-4 over the final eight games.

Easier said than done! Last time I thought they could do it was only a month ago, when they went 7-4 in the first 12 days of May and then got their butts swept by the Tigers. The Tigers! Okay, fine, the Orioles aren’t THAT much better than the Tigers - three games in the loss column heading into today. They should have at least won one game in that series anyway. That would have made May a .500 month. Two out of three from the Tigers would be a winning month.

Anyway, they need to beat the Nationals, who have the worst team ERA in the National League, with mess in their rotation and their bullpen. Not that the Orioles are so much better in their rotation at this time. Jordan Lyles, tonight’s starting pitcher, hasn’t been eating innings lately while looking like the guy who had the worst ERA of qualified pitchers last year. I guess we’ll see how it goes.

Orioles lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Trey Mancini - DH
  3. Anthony Santander - RF
  4. Austin Hays - LF
  5. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  6. Adley Rutschman - C
  7. Rougned Odor - 2B
  8. Tyler Nevin - 3B
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

The Orioles recalled Rylan Bannon to fill the roster spot vacated by Mike Baumann when the O’s acted yesterday to comply with MLB’s long-awaited 13-pitcher roster limit. Bannon, as you can see, is not in the starting lineup. It’s going to be a challenge to give playing time to multiple right-handed hitting third basemen. Bannon could spell Odor against a lefty starting pitcher, perhaps, like tomorrow’s Nationals starter, Patrick Corbin. Or be a pinch hitter when a lefty reliever is brought in later in a game.

Nationals lineup

  1. Cesar Hernández - 2B
  2. Juan Soto - RF
  3. Josh Bell - 1B
  4. Nelson Cruz - DH
  5. Luis García - SS
  6. Keibert Ruiz - C
  7. Yadiel Hernández - LF
  8. Maikel Franco - 3B
  9. Lane Thomas - CF

I had not considered Soto’s stats yet until looking them up before writing this post. He’s certainly looking a lot more human after being otherworldly for two straight years. Soto is still walking more than he strikes out (55-46) but his OBP has dropped by nearly 100 points from last year and his batting average has dropped more than 100 points.

With 14 home runs so far this season and Soto facing home run machine Lyles with the short right field porch at Camden Yards, one particular outcome does seem to step forward as likely tonight. Bell is the other National in the double digits for home runs.