The Baltimore Orioles are looking for better starting pitching while the World Series champion Washington Nationals are hoping for some healthy starting pitching.
These two teams start a weekend series in Washington Friday — just a bus ride from Baltimore — and the Nationals hope they don’t lose starter Max Scherzer for too long after tweaking his hamstring Wednesday and leaving after one inning against the Mets.
“I’m thinking in a couple of days I’m going to feel pretty darn good,” Scherzer told The Washington Post. “I really don’t think this is a major injury.”
The Nationals have yet to see Stephen Strasburg pitch in a game after he led Washington to the World Series last year. He’s been bothered by nerve irritation, and relief pitcher Sean Doolittle has struggled so far. He is 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA in three games for the Nationals, who were off Thursday.
And as of late Thursday night, Washington had yet to even announce a starting pitcher for Friday.
The Nationals are coming off a two-game split with the Mets while the Orioles dropped four in a row to Miami. Baltimore hit four homers in the final game Thursday, but they weren’t enough in an 8-7 loss.
Renato Nunez homered twice while Chance Sisco and Dwight Smith Jr. each banged out one. Still, the Marlins swept the four-game series and sent the Orioles into Washington on a down note.
The Baltimore offense could not do much against Miami after sweeping Tampa Bay in a three-game series at home last weekend. Through the first three games, the Orioles scored just one run total, a big reason the Marlins swept a doubleheader Wednesday.
Baltimore’s Tommy Milone (0-1, 5.63 ERA) is coming off a strong start against the Rays and he gets the nod Friday. He gave up one run on one run on six hits and no walks while fanning eight in five innings of a no-decision (though the Orioles won 5-1). Milone made his major league debut with the Nationals in 2011 and threw in five games that season.
He also pitched for Washington in 2018, again in five games. Milone is 1-0 with a 0.73 ERA in two games (both starts) against his former team.
Washington made two moves during its off-day Thursday to cut the roster to the required 28 players. The Nationals optioned right-hander James Bourque to the alternate training site in Fredericksburg (Va.), and designated infielder/outfielder Emilio Bonifacio for assignment.
The Orioles made two moves of their own. Left-hander John Means went on the bereavement list, and outfielder DJ Stewart was optioned to the team’s alternate training site in Bowie (Md.).
–Field Level Media