WASHINGTON – The Orioles road trip, which started with them going 2-1 against the White Sox in Chicago, continues tonight at Nationals Park when they play the first of a two-game series with the Washington Nationals.
The Orioles beat Chicago 8-4 Sunday after falling behind 4-0 after the first inning. But after scoring six runs there on Friday and Saturday, they added eight more Sunday and have scored 49 runs the last seven games and six runs or more nine times on the year.
The Orioles are 9-7 overall with a plus-7 run differential and they have won back-to-back series against Oakland and Chicago. They are 4-3 at home and 5-4 on the road and trying to go three games over the .500 mark for the first time in 2023.
The Orioles' .563 win percentage, if maintained over a full season, would result in 91 wins.
In the series at Chicago, they scored 20 runs on 30 hits with six doubles, two triples and two homers and they went 10-for-43 with runners in scoring position.
They are now 1-2 in rubber match games and have won five of their past seven games overall. For the season they are 3-2 in five series.
Washington (5-11) started the year going 1-6 and is just 2-7 at home and they have lost four of the past five games. In their past series, they went 1-2 against both the Angels and Guardians. The Nats, who have a minus-20 run differential, are 0-4-1 in series this year, losing all except for a four-game split versus Colorado. They beat Cleveland 7-6 with a comeback win on Sunday and had Monday off.
Right-hander Dean Kremer (0-0, 9.49 ERA) will make his fourth start of 2023 tonight and he has yet to allow fewer than four runs or go longer than five innings.
The Orioles went 14-7 in his starts last season when he went 8-7 with a 3.23 ERA, but all his numbers are not as good to start this season, His ERA was 24 percent above league average in 2022 but is 51 percent below average now.
His WHIP has increased from 1.253 to 1.784 and his homer rate from 0.8 per nine to 3.6. He allowed 11 homers in 125 1/3 innings last year and has allowed five in 12 1/3 this season. Kremer has allowed 16 hits and 13 runs so far with a 4.4 walk rate (up from 2.4 last year) and a 5.8 K rate (down from 6.2 last season).
Kremer is 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA and .858 OPS against in three career interleague games. In seven career starts in April, he is 0-2 with an 8.89 ERA. In his only career start versus the Nats – last Sept. 13 in Washington – he is 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA. He pitched five innings allowing eight hits and three runs on 82 pitches.
Nats right-hander Josiah Gray (0-3, 4.32 ERA) will make his fourth start for the home team. He has thrown 16 2/3 innings allowing 19 hits and eight runs with a 1.440 WHIP, 2.7 walk rate and 7.0 strikeout rate.
He allowed five runs in five innings in his 2023 season debut, but has an ERA of 2.31 his past two games versus Colorado and the Los Angeles Angels, throwing 102 and 103 pitches.
The 25-year-old Gray was drafted by Cincinnati in round two of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Lemoyne College. He was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal with the Nats in July of 2021 when Los Angeles acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
He throws his fastball just 28 percent with a velocity average of 93.7 mph and uses his slider 29 percent, curve 25 percent and cutter 18 percent.
The matchup tonight is one of a Nats pitcher that has been hard to square up and an O’s offense making a lot of hard contact. Gray ranks in the top eight percent of MLB allowing an average exit velocity of just 84.1 mph and he ranks in the top 20 percent in both chase rate and hard-hit percentage. And the Orioles, with an average exit velocity of 90.7 mph as a team, rank third in baseball behind only Atlanta (91.3) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (91.0). All three of those teams rank in the top five in the majors in team OPS.
The Orioles went 3-1 versus Washington last year, including a 2-0 on the road. All-time against the Nats they are 51-39 and have a record of 24-21 at Nats Park.