The Nationals and Orioles finish their three-game series at Camden Yards this afternoon, as the Nationals try to avoid a sweep following a pair of come-from-ahead losses. I'm not up in Baltimore today - I'm taking a day to spend with my wife - but I'll have a few thoughts during the day. In the meantime, you can discuss the game in the comments section, and I'll respond to you there.
Here are the lineups for today's 1:35 game:
2:32 p.m.: For the third time in as many games, the Nationals have a sizable early lead. They got another one today in a three-run third inning, with Ryan Zimmerman walking, Josh Willingham tripling to left and Roger Bernadina blasting his fifth homer of the year to left field on a Jeremy Guthrie changeup. It's imperative they get a starter deep into the game today, and Luis Atilano has only thrown 40 pitches through three innings. Maybe today will be the day they topple the Orioles juggernaut.
3:02 p.m.: When the Nationals get a lead here, it seems like stretching a rubber band - the further it's pulled, the harder it's going to snap back. They've blown the lead for the third time in three days, allowing three runs, again in the fifth inning, to the Orioles. The other key theme in this series has been the Nationals' inability to score runs later in the game, which they'll have to do to win this one with the game tied at three. An ill-advised Adam Kennedy throw was part of it, yes, but Atilano has started to miss spots with his sinker and get hit. We'll see if he can get through the sixth inning, or if manager Jim Riggleman will turn to his bullpen early again.
4:00 p.m.: Checking back in here, in the ninth inning of what looks like it will be an extremely disheartening sweep for the Nationals at the hands of the Orioles. Tyler Clippard gave up the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, throwing a belt-high fastball to Miguel Tejada, and took it out on the dugout bench after the inning, repeatedly slamming his right hand into it. Again, the Nationals haven't been able to hit after taking an early lead. I feel like I've watched the same game three times. Also: Cristian Guzman was scratched before the game with a sore neck, which is why Adam Kennedy replaced him.