I drew Shackleford in the Preakness pool. I know nothing about him except that his name reminds me of the N.C. State center with huge feet.
Jeremy Guthrie is saddled with two unearned runs in the top of the third on first baseman Brandon Snyder’s two-out error.
Snyder backed up on Laynce Nix’s bouncer, allowing the ball to play him, and it deflected off his body and rolled past him. Jerry Hairston Jr. and Ian Desmond raced home.
Nationals starter John Lannan retired the first six Orioles on 15 pitches. He walked Mark Reynolds to open the third.
Reynolds is a walk machine these days.
Instant update: Nolan Reimold just hit a long two-run homer to tie the game.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy is hitless in 21 at-bats since his grand slam at Tropicana Field. It’s been a quiet slump, given the number of struggling hitters, bullpen implosions and roster moves.
Happy 25th Birthday, Matt Wieters.
Here’s more from manager Buck Showalter:
On Jason Berken:
“I was talking to him last night and he said this is the best he’s felt. I’ll tell you what, he may be too strong. The plan for him is to go down there and be stretched out. I think the plan for him is to start on Tuesday. Don’t hold me to that. I’m sure John (Stockstill) and them and Andy (MacPhail) will figure out what they want to do. But if he’s pitching two innings every two days or whatever, you have a chance if you have to reach for him to catch him on the wrong day where he can pitch. But if he’s starting and he’s also got a work day - if you don’t let the start get too long - you’ve got really three days out of five that you could probably take him, where the other way you have less days where you could take him.
“I do think he needs to get the ball and pitch multiple innings. He’s not going to necessarily come back here as a one-inning guy, either. I don’t think there’s really a downside to him pitching multiple innings, because one of the challenges that we’ve had is, we have a lot of guys in the bullpen who are one-inning pitchers. That’s tough to do in the American League if your starters are struggling.”
On whether starting Tuesday signals a role change for Berken:
“Right now, but if he gets stretched out to five or six innings there, then that’s different. He could come back either way. Talking to him, it seems like all guys down there want to do that. Sometimes we pigeonhole guys and say, ‘This is the way they’re going to be.’ For instance, J.J. (Jim Johnson) two years ago. They learn from experiences and they get better at what their job is. I’m hoping that’s the case with Berk. He may be able to go back and start, but this way, initially, it’s about what is best for him and the team for when he comes back.
“You know what’s tough, he goes down to the bullpen to have a light side or do some things when we know he’s not going to pitch or an off day or whatever, and he’s nails. He’s locating everything down and away, his breaking ball’s got good late finish, and then he comes in a game and his first four pitches are above the belt. Talking to him, he doesn’t have anxiety. He’s not that guy. He’s got to find it. Part of it, he may be too strong. He was 92 to 95 last night. I think the innings will be nothing but good for him. I expect him to come back and help us.”
On the team’s identity:
“What you figure out is, you have four young starters in your rotation that are trying to establish themselves. I spoke with them today. They’re trying to establish themselves. The problem is, there’s a lot of unknown about what you’re getting. But they’ve had enough exposure, enough time up here over the last couple of years that they need to step forward one way or the other. There will be another guy running up the Baseball America hot list behind all of us. I know how it works, they know how it works. Sometimes, they need to be reminded that some things are unacceptable. All of them.
“I’m not a big start watcher until a certain part of the season, but you look at some of the hits to innings and ERAs and stuff, it’s not good enough. It’s not going to work. It falls underneath the heading with some of them, ‘Yeah, I got it.’ But sometimes it’s a little bit more than just whistling in the graveyard. It’s unacceptable, not good enough. The see-sawing back-and forth, it’s tough for a team to really get into a consistent flow of playing good baseball over a long stretch of time when you got those inconsistencies. I’m not going to hang it all on them. I felt like there was a ball game to be won there last night when Berken came in.”
On whether Brian Matusz could be making his last injury rehab start tonight:
“I’m not leaning either way. Let’s see what happens. It’s five (innings) or 75 (pitches). If he’s at 60 after five, which we’d really like to see, he’ll pitch another inning. He’s got the potential to pitch six innings today if he’ll minimize his pitches.”
More on young pitchers:
“These guys have had a lot of experiences up here for young players. We’d like to see them start using it in between the lines.”