WASHINGTON - After winning 3-0 last night and splitting two games, the Orioles (21-51) will win the series against the Washington Nationals (39-33) with a victory tonight. The Orioles have won just two road series this year, with eight losses and one tie. They took three of four at the New York Yankees April 5-8 and swept two in New York versus the Mets June 5-6.
The Orioles have scored 10 runs in the first two games at Nats Park on 15 hits but they have gone 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position. Four of their last six home runs have been two-run homers after a stretch of 18 straight solo home runs.
Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-6, 4.48 ERA) will make his 15th start of the season tonight. Over his first eight starts, he went 3-2 with a 3.18 ERA and five quality starts. Over his past six, he is 0-4 with a 6.61 ERA and two quality starts.
Gausman, who has yet to face Washington this year, has a record of 2-3 and a 2.94 ERA in eight night-game starts. His ERA is 7.12 in six day games. In seven road starts, he is 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA.
The Orioles face Washington right-hander Max Scherzer (10-3, 2.06 ERA) tonight. He is set to make his 16th start of the year and second versus the Orioles. Over his past four starts, Scherzer is 2-2 with a 1.86 ERA. For the season, he has 13 quality starts and has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 14 of his 15 outings. He’s fanned 10 or more 10 times.
Scherzer ranks first in the National League in wins, strikeouts, innings and average against, at .171, and is second to the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (1.51) in ERA.
Scherzer is one of 10 pitchers in major league history to win three or more Cy Young Awards. He won in 2013 with Detroit, when he went 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He won in 2016 and 2017 with the Nationals. In 2016, he went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA, and last year he went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA.
In several categories on the stat sheet, Scherzer’s numbers this year are better than those of the last two seasons. His WHIP is lower, at 0.844. So are his hits allowed per nine innings (5.5), his homers per nine (0.7) and his walks per nine (2.1). His strikeout rate is up. It was 11.2 per every nine innings in 2016 and 12.0 last season. This year Scherzer’s K-rate is a career-best 13.6.
The Orioles got a look at Scherzer and lost to him May 30 at Oriole Park. He pitched eight scoreless on two hits that night with one walk and 12 strikeouts. In Scherzer’s last three starts versus the Orioles, his ERA is 0.75. In 11 career starts he is 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA against Baltimore. Over 78 1/3 innings he has allowed 11 homers but has walked just 14 with 97 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.98.
McKenna moves up: The Orioles have promoted 21-year-old center fielder Ryan McKenna from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie. McKenna, a fourth-round pick in 2015, has been one of the top players in minor league baseball this year.
He batted .377/.467/.556 to go with a 1.023 OPS in 67 games with the Keys. He tallied 97 hits, eight home runs, 37 RBIs, two triples, 18 doubles, 60 runs scored and five stolen bases. McKenna is currently the minor league leader in hits and on-base percentage. Additionally, he is second in batting average, runs scored, tied for fifth in total bases (143) and sixth in OPS.
In 16 June games with the Keys, McKenna was batting .423//538/.712 to go with a 1.250 OPS as well as three home runs, seven RBIs, one triple, four doubles and 14 runs scored. His .538 on-base percentage in June is 38 points higher than the next-closest MiLB player, while he ranks second in the minors in hitting and fourth in OPS this month. When he hit .397 in May, he was named the Orioles minor league Player of the Month.
I recently wrote this profile of McKenna.
Also on the farm today, Bowie added right-hander Eddie Gamboa from the Norfolk roster and infielder Chris Clare was transferred from Bowie to Frederick.