Both the Orioles and Nationals have blown plenty of chances with runners in scoring position today.
The difference in the ballgame so far is that the Nats have done almost nothing with their opportunities, and while the O’s have stranded their share of runners, they’ve been productive enough when scoring chances have presented themselves.
Midway through the eighth, the Nats trail their neighbors to the north 6-2.
For the afternoon, the Nats are 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. They’ve twice had a batter lead off the inning with a double only to fail to advance that runner to third.
The Orioles, on the other hand, are 5-for-14 with runners in scoring position. They’ve stranded 13 but have pounded out 14 hits and have been able to get tack-on runs to pad their lead.
This is a balanced, dangerous lineup, and they don’t let up. They work counts, put the ball in play and make pitchers have to fight for outs.
Craig Stammen came on to relieve Gio Gonzalez but went just one inning, allowing a run on four hits. He had to throw 24 pitches to record three outs. Henry Rodriguez worked the eighth for the Nats, but surrendered a run, two hits and a walk, and threw 25 pitches.
The Nats, on the other hand, have struck out seven times today, failed to move runners into scoring position with less than two outs and overall presented little threat to O’s starter Jason Hammel.
Hammel comes out to start the bottom of the eighth having thrown just 91 pitches on the afternoon.
Update: The first game of the Battle of the Beltways goes to the O’s 6-2, with Hammel moving to 6-0 in eight career starts against the Nats.
The Nats put up just eight hits to the Orioles’ 15, and couldn’t overcome that 2-for-11 mark with runners in scoring position.
Gio Gonzalez falls to 3-3 on the season and the Nats drop back to one game above .500 yet again.