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Tuesday night Orioles game thread: at Nationals, 7:05

It’s Dean Kremer’s best chance to turn his season around as the Orioles face the last-place Nats in D.C.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Nick Grace/Getty Images

It’s here! The showdown you’ve all been waiting for! The Battle of the Beltways! The annual knockdown, bare-knuckle brawl between two arch-enemies who... Sorry. I’m not feeling it. I know the Baltimore/D.C. matchup is supposed to be the “regional rivalry” and all that, but it kind of falls flat for me. I don’t have any love for the Nationals, but they don’t inspire the kind of intense, fanatical dislike in Orioles fans that, say, the Yankees or Red Sox or Blue Jays do. They’re just another team that you think about for the four days that the Orioles are playing them and then never again. And now that every MLB team plays against all 29 other teams every season, the Nats are no more of a rival than any other interleague opponent the Orioles will face.

They are, however, a team that the Orioles should beat if the O’s are serious about contending this year. The Nats are currently in last place in the NL East, and their five wins are tied for the fewest in the National League. They have yet to win a series this season. The Birds will be in and out for a two-game set before heading back up the road to Baltimore, so a mini-sweep shouldn’t be too much to ask.

This is Dean Kremer’s chance to get his woeful 2023 season back on track. Kremer has a 9.49 ERA and has yet to get past the fifth inning in any of his three starts, but he’s facing a Nationals lineup that has scored the fourth-fewest runs in the majors and has the fifth-worst OPS. The Cole Irvin demotion showed that the O’s aren’t afraid to jettison a veteran starter to the minors if he’s not performing, so Kremer could really use a solid outing to keep his rotation spot secure.

The O’s will face Nats right-hander Josiah Gray, who coughed up an MLB-worst 38 home runs last season and has surrendered four in his three outings this year. The Orioles’ offense, which enters the game with the third-most home runs in the AL, will hope to find the seats at Nationals Park early and often. Ramón Urías remains out of the O’s lineup after getting hit in the head with a pitch against the White Sox on Saturday, but he cleared concussion protocol and told reporters that he’s available to play tonight.

Orioles lineup:

CF Cedric Mullins
C Adley Rutschman
DH Ryan Mountcastle
RF Anthony Santander
2B Adam Frazier
LF Austin Hays
3B Gunnar Henderson
SS Jorge Mateo
1B Ryan O’Hearn

RHP Dean Kremer

Nationals lineup:

RF Lane Thomas
1B Dominic Smith
DH Joey Meneses
3B Jeimer Candelario
2B Luis Garcia
C Keibert Ruiz
LF Stone Garrett
SS CJ Abrams
CF Victor Robles

RHP Josiah Gray