Game 94 lineups: Nats at Cubs

Jeimer Candelario blue

CHICAGO – The sky is blue, there’s a nice cool breeze blowing in off Lake Michigan and most importantly there’s no rain in the forecast. Ahhhhhhh, we earned this one after a brutal weather weekend in St. Louis.

The Nationals come to Wrigley Field for a three-game series with several changes to their roster. Hunter Harvey was officially placed on the 15-day injured list with what the team is now calling a right elbow strain. They also optioned Joan Adon to Triple-A Rochester and recalled Joe La Sorsa and activated Patrick Corbin off the paternity list. Corbin won’t pitch until Tuesday, but he was only allowed to spend three days on leave, so he’s back now.

After using up their bullpen all weekend, the Nats would really like some length tonight from MacKenzie Gore. The lefty is plenty rested after having his last start cut short by rain and then having an extra-long All-Star break as the team tries to limit his innings over the long haul. Gore needs to throw strikes and he needs to enjoy some quick innings.

The Nationals lineup gets to face yet another left-hander in Drew Smyly. It feels like they’ve faced at least one, if not two, southpaws every series this season. Here’s another chance for Stone Garrett and the other righties in their lineup to take their hacks.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at CHICAGO CUBS
Where: Wrigley Field
Gametime: 8:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Clear, 73 degrees, wind 7 mph in from right field

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Game 93 lineups: Nats at Cardinals (Candelario scratched)

CJ Abrams running blue away

ST. LOUIS – It’s another hot, muggy day here, and there once again is a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. We’ve already seen the first two games of the weekend get delayed. Why not another to complete the rain sweep?

The Nationals survived Saturday’s pseudo-doubleheader, winning the first game before losing the nightcap. That still puts them in a position to win the series, with All-Star Josiah Gray on the mound. It’s not the worst position to be in.

Gray, who looked really good during his 1-2-3 inning of relief Tuesday night in Seattle, should be plenty motivated to get his second half off to a strong start. He’d also love some redemption for his previous start against the Cardinals (June 19 in D.C.) when his teammates handed him an early 5-0 lead and he proceeded to give all of them back, plus one. That frustrating start including back-to-back homers by Brendan Donovan and Paul Goldschmidt in the top of the fifth.

Gray’s opponent that night was Jack Flaherty, and wouldn’t you know the two right-handers meet again today. The Nats jumped all over Flaherty to take that aforementioned 5-0 lead, all five runs scoring in the first two innings. The problem: They shut down offensively after that, allowing the opposing starter they had on the ropes early to make it all the way to the seventh inning.

UPDATE: Jeimer Candelario was initially in today's lineup, but he has now been scratched. The plan was to test his bruised right thumb in the batting cage and fielding grounders, and apparently it didn't go well. So Ildemaro Vargas once again will start at third base in his place.

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Hicks scratched from Orioles lineup (updated)

Aaron Hicks white jersey

The Orioles made a late lineup change this morning.

Aaron Hicks has been scratched and no longer gets the start in center field.

Austin Hays goes from the bench to left field for the series finale against the Marlins at Camden Yards. Colton Cowser’s first start in Baltimore switches from left field to center.

Hays is batting fourth, with Ryan O’Hearn moving down to fifth.

For the Orioles
Gunnar Henderson SS
Adley Rutschman DH
Anthony Santander RF
Austin Hays LF
Ryan O’Hearn 1B
Ramón Urías 3B
Colton Cowser CF
Adam Frazier 2B
James McCann C

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Game 92 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

irvin 1st mlb win @ SF

ST. LOUIS – Don’t look now, but the Nationals are playing winning baseball. No, really. They’ve won three in a row, and if they can pull off another one tonight, they’ll have their first four-game winning streak since June 27-30, 2021, back when Kyle Schwarber was homering every night and Trea Turner was hitting for the cycle. One more win over St. Louis tonight or Sunday would lock up their fifth series victory in their last six tries. Also, a win tonight would give the Nats a winning record on the road this season. (They’re currently 22-22.)

So how do they get there? It begins with Jake Irvin, who looks to continue his positive trend from before the All-Star break and provide some quality innings after the bullpen was needed for 7 1/3 total innings in this afternoon’s 10-inning win. Irvin has a 3.25 ERA over his last five starts, never allowing more than three runs in any outing.

The Nationals would love to get some more production from a lineup that already scored seven runs in seven innings today. That group will hope to keep the pressure going with CJ Abrams leading off (he’s got seven stolen bases in his last five games) in front of Lane Thomas and Joey Meneses. Jeimer Candelario is again out of the lineup with a bruised right thumb, but he told Davey Martinez he thinks he could pinch-hit if needed. We’ll see.

To compensate for Candelario’s lack of availability, the Nats used the 27th man they’re allotted for tonight’s game not on a pitcher but on Jake Alu. The utilityman flew in from Rochester and is here on site, available off the bench if needed with both Ildemaro Vargas and Michael Chavis in the lineup against Cardinals lefty Steven Matz.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 7:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 88 degrees, wind 8 mph left field to right field

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Orioles lineup vs. Marlins

hays swings white

The Orioles carry a six-game winning streak into tonight, with the Rays leading them by only 1 ½ in the American League East.

A right-handed lineup against Marlins left-hander Braxton Garrett puts Austin Hays in the leadoff spot and Ryan Mountcastle at cleanup. Mountcastle is the designated hitter, with Anthony Santander at first base.

Jordan Westburg is the second baseman, Gunnar Henderson moves to third and Jorge Mateo gets the start at shortstop.

Colton Cowser stood on deck last night with two outs in the eighth inning but didn’t bat. He’s waiting to make his Camden Yards debut.

The Orioles have hit eight home runs in the last two games after totaling eight in the previous 13.

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Game 91 lineups: Nats at Cardinals

williams pitches blue

ST. LOUIS – And away we go with the second half of the season. The Nationals come out of the All-Star break at 36-54, a 65-win pace. And believe it or not, they’re only two games behind the Cardinals, one of baseball’s biggest underachievers to date this year.

We know the Nats have been a much better road team in 2023, so let’s see if they can get the second half off to a positive start tonight. They’ll have Trevor Williams on the mound for the series opener, with Jake Irvin on Saturday and Josiah Gray on Sunday. Why not Patrick Corbin? He was placed on the paternity list today, so we won’t see him until next week in Chicago. Paolo Espino was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his place and provide some length out of the bullpen.

Davey Martinez is going with what now represents his regular lineup against a right-hander (in this case, the Cardinals’ Miles Mikolas). CJ Abrams has taken over leadoff duties until further notice, with Lane Thomas batting second ahead of Jeimer Candelario and the suddenly red-hot Joey Meneses, who hit four homers in his final three games before the break.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
Where: Busch Stadium
Gametime: 8:15 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of storms, 86 degrees, wind 6 mph right field to left field

NATIONALS
SS CJ Abrams
RF Lane Thomas
3B Jeimer Candelario
DH Joey Meneses
C Keibert Ruiz
1B Dominic Smith
LF Corey Dickerson
2B Luis García
CF Alex Call

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Game 90 lineups: Nats vs. Rangers

corbin pitches blue

Before we turn our attention to the Nationals’ No. 2 overall pick in tonight’s MLB Draft and the upcoming All-Star Game festivities, there is still one more game to be played before the unofficial first half of the season ends.

The Nats will look to close this first part of the season on a high note, one of the few they’ve seen at home this season. They have lost 15 of their last 17 home games and need a win this afternoon for some sort of momentum heading into the break.

Patrick Corbin will hope to lead the Nats to that victory in his 19th start. The left-hander is 5-10 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.593 WHIP this season. He got knocked around for six runs and 10 hits over five innings during his July 4 start against the Reds, which came after one of his best starts as a National in the form of seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts against the Mariners. Corbin is 4-3 with a 4.75 ERA and 1.373 WHIP in eight interleague starts this season.

A familiar face will start for the Rangers. Dane Dunning was a first-round pick (29th overall) by the Nats in the 2016 draft. The University of Florida product was traded that December along with Lucas Giolito and Renaldo López to the White Sox in exchange for Adam Eaton. Dunning was traded again in 2020 to the Rangers as part of the two-player package for Lance Lynn.

The 28-year-old right-hander is enjoying his best year in the majors with an 8-1 record, 2.61 ERA and 1.100 WHIP over 19 appearances (11 starts). He’s pitched to a 2.28 ERA over his last four starts, allowing no more than two runs in any of them. His only start against the Nationals came last year here in D.C., when he completed six innings of one-run ball while taking a no-decision in the Nats’ 2-1 win.

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Game 89 lineups: Nats vs. Rangers

Jake Irvin Whites

Will the Nationals win a home game today? If they do, will they pop champagne in the clubhouse? At this point, anything’s possible.

Having begun this homestand 0-5, and having lost 15 of their last 16 home games overall, the Nats are desperate for something positive to happen on South Capitol Street. The good news: All the top relievers should be available today after sitting Friday night. So if Jake Irvin can give them five or six quality innings (no guarantee, of course) they should at least be in a good position to compete late.

Above all else, though, this lineup needs to start scoring some runs. The Nationals have totaled 14 runs on this homestand, an average of 2.8 per game for those who need help with the math. They’re asking an awful lot of their pitching staff to compensate for that. Perhaps they can finally enjoy some success this afternoon against Rangers lefty Andrew Heaney.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. TEXAS RANGERS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of storms, 86 degrees, wind 6 mph right field to left field

NATIONALS
SS CJ Abrams
RF Lane Thomas
DH Jeimer Candelario
1B Joey Meneses
C Keibert Ruiz
LF Stone Garrett
3B Ildemaro Vargas
2B Luis García
CF Alex Call

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Hays in Orioles lineup this afternoon in Minnesota

Austin Hays running gray

All-Star Austin Hays has returned to the Orioles lineup this afternoon for the first time since bruising his left hip Sunday against the Twins.

Hays is in left field and batting fifth.

Colton Cowser is in right field today, and Anthony Santander is the designated hitter.

Aaron Hicks returns to the lineup in center field after pinch-hitting last night in the 10th inning and delivering a sacrifice fly in a 3-1 win. Cedric Mullins is on the bench.

Jordan Westburg also is out of the lineup, with Adam Frazier playing second base and Ramón Urías moving to third. Westburg’s .314 average is the highest for any Orioles infielder through 10 career games, according to STATS.

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Game 87 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

Meneses red

The Nationals, plain and simple, have not played good baseball this week. It’s not just the fact they’ve lost three straight to the Reds, it’s the way they’ve looked in losing those three games. Sloppy defense. Bad pitching. An inability to deliver at the plate with runners in scoring position. It’s been ugly.

One win in today’s series finale won’t change all that, but it sure wouldn’t hurt. Success would start with MacKenzie Gore, who needs a bounceback performance of his own after giving up seven runs in only 2 2/3 innings his last outing at Philadelphia. The lefty would love to go into the All-Star break on a better note, not to mention an ERA lower than the 4.48 mark he brings into today’s start.

The Nats face another unfamiliar pitcher today in Cincinnati’s Brandon Williamson, who makes his 10th career start. The 25-year-old left-hander enters with a 5.56 ERA, but he did hold the Padres to two runs over five innings in his last appearance.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Chance of storms, 89 degrees, wind 6 mph right field to left field

NATIONALS
RF Lane Thomas
3B Jeimer Candelario
1B Joey Meneses
LF Stone Garrett
DH Keibert Ruiz
2B Ildemaro Vargas
C Riley Adams
SS CJ Abrams
CF Alex Call

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Game 86 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

Alex Call whites celebration

The Nationals tonight look to bounce back from two uninspired losses to the Reds to begin this homestand, and they’ll have a new face patrolling center field. (Though he’s not actually new, he’s just back for the first time in a few weeks.) Alex Call has been recalled from Triple-A Rochester, with struggling Derek Hill designated for assignment after a particularly rough game Tuesday.

Call, who didn’t exactly set the world on fire at the plate while filling in for the injured Victor Robles, gets another chance to prove his worth until Robles is ready to return from his lingering back issues. He’ll bat ninth tonight, behind CJ Abrams. Joey Meneses returns to the cleanup spot, with Dominic Smith bumped down to the No. 5 position against Reds right-hander Graham Ashcraft.

Josiah Gray makes his final start before heading to Seattle for his first All-Star Game. The young right-hander is coming off one of his best outings of the season in Philadelphia, and surely he would love to keep the positive vibes going before he joins his fellow All-Stars out West next week.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 7:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 89 degrees, wind 4 mph right field to left field

NATIONALS
RF Lane Thomas
2B Luis García
3B Jeimer Candelario
DH Joey Meneses
1B Dominic Smith
C Keibert Ruiz
LF Corey Dickerson
SS CJ Abrams
CF Alex Call

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Game 85 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

candelario and smith blue

It’s Independence Day in the nation’s capital, and that means morning baseball. It’s become a great tradition here, the 11:05 a.m. first pitch at Nationals Park. It can be a rush for everyone to get to the park and get prepared for the game, but once it starts it’s always a fun atmosphere. And everyone loves being able to head home early and enjoy the rest of the holiday.

The Nationals will be hoping for more fireworks at the plate than they produced during Monday night’s 3-2 loss. They’re going to have to be better with runners in scoring position (1-for-9). If not, they’re going to have to hit the ball out of the park with some runners on base for a change.

Patrick Corbin gets the start, and he’s coming off his best outing of the season, in which he shut out the Mariners over seven innings. The Reds have a potentially tough lineup, but we saw Jake Irvin and Co. hold them to three runs Monday night, so there is a path to success for Corbin.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 11:05 a.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv, MLB Network
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees, wind 8 mph left field to right field

NATIONALS
RF Lane Thomas
2B Luis García
3B Jeimer Candelario
1B Dominic Smith
DH Joey Meneses
LF Corey Dickerson
C Riley Adams
SS CJ Abrams
CF Derek Hill

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Game 84 lineups: Nats vs. Reds

irvin pitching blue

When they left town a week and a half ago, the Nationals were reeling, having just gone 1-6 during one of the worst homestands in club history. They return tonight having completely reversed that trend, going 6-3 on a long trip that included stops in San Diego, Seattle and Philadelphia. What should we expect now as they open the final week of the first half with seven games in seven days against two of the majors’ most surprising teams?

It begins tonight with the first of four against the Reds, who only three weeks ago were 29-35 and in third place in the National League Central. Since then, with top prospect Elly De La Cruz leading the way, they’ve gone 16-4 and now are tied with the Brewers atop the division.

It’ll be up to Jake Irvin to try to hold that exciting Cincinnati lineup down. The rookie right-hander has looked quite impressive since returning from a brief hiatus to rest and work on his mechanics. He’s got a 2.70 ERA in those three starts, issuing only five walks while striking out 14. He’s still looking for his first win since May 8, though.

Veteran right-hander Luke Weaver starts for the Reds, and things have not gone well for him. Weaver enters tonight with a 6.96 ERA and 1.608 WHIP, though curiously he hasn’t received a decision either way in his last nine starts.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS vs. CINCINNATI REDS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 6:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Thunderstorms, 84 degrees, wind 8 mph out to center field

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Game 83 lineups: Nats at Phillies

Candelario Smith Meneses blue away

PHILADELPHIA – It’s time to forget about yesterday and move on to today.

No matter how bad yesterday’s 19-4 loss was, it was still just a single loss. The Nationals, who have already sealed a winning road trip, still have a chance to win this three-game series against the Phillies.

Trevor Williams gets his shot at this Phillies lineup this afternoon. Josiah Gray had a lot of success Friday. MacKenzie Gore did not on Saturday. Williams is 4-4 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.413 WHIP in 16 starts this year. Handed an early lead Monday in Seattle, he couldn’t hold onto it while being charged with three runs and eight hits in four innings. When he faced the Phillies a month ago, he was charged with four runs in 5 ⅔ innings while striking out a season-high six batters.

Ranger Suárez will be the second lefty starter the Nats will see this weekend. The Phillies southpaw is 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in nine starts this season. He was dominant in June, pitching to a 1.08 ERA and striking out 33 over five starts. That started with seven innings of one-run ball against the Nationals on June 4.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 85 degrees, wind 8 mph out to right field

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Game 82 lineups: Nats at Phillies

vargas swing @ STL gray

PHILADELPHIA – Happy July, everyone! The second half of the Nationals' season is officially underway, as they have played 81 games with 81 to go, starting with this afternoon’s second game of a series against the Phillies.

The Nationals have a chance to do something they haven’t done since 2021: Go on a winning streak of more than three games. After winning their third straight last night behind a dominant start from Josiah Gray, the Nationals could also win their third straight series with a victory today.

To do so, they’ll hand the ball to MacKenzie Gore, who is 4-6 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.412 WHIP over his first 16 starts. The 24-year-old left-hander was strong in his last start, striking out nine Padres over five innings of one-run ball against his former team. He pitched a quality start against these Phillies a month ago in D.C., striking out six while allowing three runs over six innings. But ever his own biggest critic, Gore will be looking for more today.

Zack Wheeler will oppose Gore on the mound for the Phillies. The veteran right-hander is 6-4 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.179 WHIP over his 16 starts this year. He got crushed for seven runs and eight hits when he faced the Nats on June 2, the only game Washington won in that three-game series, so he too will be looking to improve today. 

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
Where: Citizens Bank Park
Gametime: 4:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 The Fan, MLB.com
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 83 degrees, wind 10 mph out to center field

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Orioles select Vallimont's contract (plus notes and lineups)

givens pitch gray

The bullpen never rests.

The Orioles made another move this morning, selecting Chris Vallimont’s contract from Triple-A Norfolk and optioning left-hander Bruce Zimmermann.

Reliever Mychal Givens was transferred to the 60-day injured list to create room on the 40-man roster. He’s headed down to Sarasota next week and will pitch in the Florida Complex League after the All-Star break.

Givens hasn’t pitched for the Orioles since making his sixth appearance on May 31. He won’t join them before August.

Vallimont, 26, is waiting to make his major league debut. He’s posted a 5.02 ERA in 22 games with Norfolk, including eight starts.

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Game 81 lineups: Nats at Phillies

CJ Abrams running blue away

PHILADELPHIA – Hello from the City of Brotherly love, where America’s pastime will be played by the team representing our nation’s capital and the team representing our nation’s former capital ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

And welcome to the end of June and the actual midpoint of the major league season. Although some consider the All-Star break (the game's also known as the Midsummer Classic) as the halfway point of the season, after tonight’s game the Nationals will have played 81 of their scheduled 162 games.

The Nationals will turn to Josiah Gray to keep this 4-2 road trip going in a positive direction. The 25-year-old right-hander is 5-6 on the season with a 3.43 ERA and 1.399 WHIP. He pitched 5 ⅓ scoreless innings against the Padres in his previous start, but he was roughed up by this Phillies lineup for four runs over 5 ⅓ when he faced them at the beginning of the month. He has had some success in this ballpark, striking out a career-high 11 batters in a start last July.

Cristopher Sánchez gets the ball for the Phils in tonight’s opener. The 26-year-old southpaw is 0-1 with a 4.05 ERA and 1.050 WHIP over his three major league starts in 2023. Though this is his first time facing the Nats this year, he is 1-0 with a 7.11 ERA and 1.737 WHIP in five appearances (two starts) against them between 2021-22.

Tonight’s first pitch has apparently been delayed by a couple of minutes to accommodate the Phillies’ postgame fireworks. They want to make sure it’s actually dark outside for the show. Maybe the only downside to the pitch clock.

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Game 80 lineups: Nats at Mariners

corbin pitching blue

SEATTLE – The Nationals have spent an inordinate amount of time on the West Coast this season. Today, they play their 25th road game against West division opponents. Compare that with only six road games against Central teams and only nine road games against East teams. They’ve made four separate trips to California in three months.

The good news: Today is the last time the Nats will play west of St. Louis this season. And they would love to head back east with another win, not to mention a 4-2 record in San Diego and Seattle before departing for Philadelphia.

Davey Martinez’s lineup for the finale against the Mariners does not include CJ Abrams, who was hit by a pitch on the right elbow Tuesday night and had to depart. It does not include Joey Meneses, who gets a rare day off. It does include both Keibert Ruiz (who is DHing) and Riley Adams (who is catching).

Patrick Corbin gets the start, hoping for better results than his blowup start in San Diego to begin this trip (seven runs in five innings). The Nats could certainly use some length from the left-hander today after playing 11 innings Tuesday night.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SEATTLE MARINERS
Where: T-Mobile Park
Gametime: 4:10 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Sunny, 70 degrees, wind 6 mph out to center field

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Game 79 lineups: Nats at Mariners

irvin 1st mlb win @ SF

SEATTLE – Monday night’s series opener was a disappointing one for the Nationals, who squandered an early 3-1 lead against Mariners ace Luis Castillo and wound up losing 8-4, with Jeimer Candelario standing at the plate watching a pitch well out of the zone called strike three with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. They can only hope for better results tonight.

The pitching staff should be in better shape tonight, with everyone outside of Cory Abbott available out of the bullpen. That could take some pressure off starter Jake Irvin, though the rookie right-hander will be motivated to follow up his back-to-back strong outings with another one. He allowed just one run a piece to the Marlins and Diamondbacks, completing six innings against Arizona.

Seattle has a rookie right-hander of its own on the mound tonight in Bryan Woo. The 23-year-old, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 Draft, makes his fifth career start. His debut was ragged (six runs in two innings against the Rangers) but he’s been good since (2.30 ERA, 21-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio against the Angels, White Sox and Yankees).

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at SEATTLE MARINERS
Where: T-Mobile Park
Gametime: 9:40 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 73 degrees, wind 5 mph out to center field

NATIONALS
RF Lane Thomas
2B Luis García
3B Jeimer Candelario
DH Joey Meneses
LF Corey Dickerson
C Keibert Ruiz
1B Dominic Smith
SS CJ Abrams
CF Derek Hill

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Orioles and Reds lineups for Game 2 (updated)

Westburg whites

Jordan Westburg follows last night’s major league debut with another start tonight at second base. He’s batting seventh again.

Ramón Urías is playing first base, Ryan McKenna is in right field, Aaron Hicks is in center and Anthony Santander is the designated hitter.

Adley Rutschman’s two hits last night made him the first catcher since Jorge Posada in 2000 to record 75-plus hits and 50-plus walks in 75 games, according to STATS.

Austin Hays is batting leadoff again. He has a hit in 17 of 21 games this month, slashing .337/.364/.518 (28-for-83) with nine doubles, two home runs, 11 RBIs and 14 runs scored. His .319 average leads the American League.

Cedric Mullins, who’s on the bench, had a 110.5 mph single last night in the seventh inning that was the hardest-hit ball of his career.

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