Today’s O’s-Nationals live blog

Once again today I will post some stats, opinions and notes here in this entry during today’s game as we feature a live blog this afternoon.

I hope many of you add your own questions and comments today starting
right now.

Nats get the lead with the longball: The Nats got back-to-back homers with two outs in the fourth from Jesus Flores and Stephen Strasburg to take a 5-3 lead. Yes, the No. 8 and 9 hitters go deep off Chen for the lead. It’s the Nats’ first lead in this series.

Flores’ homer came on a 2-2 pitch and Strasburg’s on an 0-2 pitch and Chen has now allowed a season-high five runs.

Game of inches and it’s tied: The Nats came up with three runs in the last of third to tie this game on a Bryce Harper two-run triple and an RBI groundout from Ian Desmond. The O’s almost turned an inning-ending double play on the Desmond grounder but it looked like Robert Andino could not quite get the ball out of his glove fast enough and Desmond crossed the bag at first just ahead of the throw to try and complete the double play. The inning began on a Strasburg single.

So this game is all even again, 3-3, after three.

Bundy, by the way, went five scoreless on one hit today in Hagerstown. You can read more about that here.

Meanwhile in Hagerstown: Dylan Bundy has retired all 12 batters he has faced today for Delmarva at Hagerstown. He has three strikeouts and got help from right fielder Brenden Webb who made a nice catch at the wall in right to end the last of the second.

Bundy is expected to go five innings today and I will write a separate entry on that start when he leaves today’s game. He now has pitched 29 pro innings allowing four hits and no earned runs.

First inning run vs. Strasburg: The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first against Stephen Strasburg. Xavier Avery led off with a single and tagged up, advancing to second base on a long flyout. He scored on a Nick Markakis RBI single to right.

Markakis, who homered in the 11th inning Friday, has knocked in a run in each game of this series and is 4-for-10 this weekend with two homers and four RBIs. Nice start for the Birds today.

Minors moves: There have been several transactions today in the O’s minors. Here is a complete listing of what we have so far:

Miguel Tejada activated by Norfolk
Brad Bergesen activated to start today for Norfolk
Rick Zagone from Norfolk to Frederick
Steve Johnson to Norfolk DL with groin strain
Andy Loomis from Frederick to Norfolk
Allan de San Miguel from Norfolk to Bowie
Bobby Stevens from Bowie to Frederick
Matt Sweeney to Frederick’s DL with right ankle sprain

Johnson suffered a groin strain while pitching for Norfolk last night. He had pitched two scoreless innings against Pawtucket which lowered his ERA to 2.62. Johnson has allowed just 30 hits over 44 2/3 this year for an average against of just .191.

The Orioles are hopeful that this injury will keep him out only seven to 10 days.

For starters: Today’s marquee pitching matchup at Nats Park features Wei-Yin Chen (4-0, 2.45 ERA) going for the Orioles and Stephen Strasburg (3-1, 2.25 ERA) pitching for the Nationals. The Orioles have never faced Strasburg before.

Chen is coming off back-to-back impressive outings against Texas and the Yankees and went 2-0 with an ERA of 1.84 over those starts. Since the O’s lost when he made his season debut, the Orioles have won six straight Chen starts.

Chen has allowed two earned runs or less six times in seven starts and has delivered quality starts in four of his last five outings. Opponent hitters are batting .231 against the left-hander.

Strasburg began the year with seven straight quality starts until pitching just four innings and giving up seven hits and four runs on Tuesday against San Diego in his worst outing of 2012.

Strasburg had an ERA of 1.13 over his first five starts, but that has gone up to 4.50 over his last three outings. He has given up one earned run or less in five of eight starts.

Lefty batters are hitting just .213 against him and right-handed batters hit just .214 versus Strasburg who is 1-1 with an ERA of 1.47 in three career interleague outings. The Nats are 6-2 this year in Strasburg starts.

If Chen gets a win today, he’ll become just the third starter to ever begin his O’s career going 5-0. Ben McDonald went 5-0 in 1990 and Jimmy Key began the 1997 season at 8-0.

What are your thoughts on this matchup today? Can the O’s beat Strasburg?

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