O's game blog: Trying to avoid a sweep at Oriole Park

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To say the least, the Orioles have had their struggles with the last-place Detroit Tigers this year. In May, right after the Orioles had impressively taken two of three at St. Louis, they lost three straight at Comerica Park by a combined 12-3 score. Then they came home Monday night, after Sunday’s ninth-inning comeback win at Toronto and lost 11-0. They lost to the same team 3-2 last night.

Tonight the Tigers (57-91) can sweep this three-game series and their season series against the Orioles with another win at Oriole Park. The O’s, outscored 26-5 this season by Detroit, need to get back in the win column tonight.

The Orioles (76-71) need to go 6-9 or better in their remaining 15 games to post a winning record for the first time since 2016. In the wild card race, Baltimore is five games behind Seattle for the final wild card spot in the AL and are 5.5 back of Tampa Bay and 7.5 games back of Toronto.

The Orioles continue to have problems putting up consistent offense. They have just two runs and one extra-base hit, a homer, in this series, going 8-for-61 (.131) at-bat and going 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

The Birds have scored three runs or less in 14 of their past 23 games. They’ve scored just 10 runs in their past six home games, getting two or less four times.

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Nats attack early with Suzuki homer and roll 6-0

Nats attack early with Suzuki homer and roll 6-0
The Nationals left 19 men on base Friday night in the series opening extra-inning loss to the American League Centeral last-place Royals. Saturday afternoon, the Nats got their offense going quickly so those men left on base didn't have a chance to pile up. Kurt Suzuki highlighted a three-run second inning for the Nationals, evening the series with a 6-0 shutout of Kansas City. Trea Turner, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto all had two hits in the 12-hit barrage. Soto and Suzuki had two RBIs apiece as...
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Scherzer off to quick start in Detroit (Nats win 2-1)

Scherzer off to quick start in Detroit (Nats win 2-1)
DETROIT - Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer has won five straight games. Manager Davey Martinez said one reason for the recent hot streak is Scherzer's pitch efficiency. "What stands out to me most is he's not doing it at 120 pitches," Martinez said. "He's getting through with hardly any high-leverage situations. Just kind of getting through the game and keeping his pitch count to about 105, 106 pitches, which is kind of nice." Scherzer has thrown 104 pitches or less in four of his...
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Venters made mechanical adjustment to return to form

Venters made mechanical adjustment to return to form
DETROIT - Left-hander Jonny Venters made his Nationals debut Saturday with five big outs to keep his team in the game. Venters arrived at a critical moment. The 27,716 at Comerica Park were riled up after the Tigers had rallied to tie the game at 3-3 with one out in fifth. Miguel Cabrera was standing at first base after delivering a two-run single. The outing did not start out the way he had planned, however, when Venters hit Christin Stewart with his first pitch thrown. Cabrera went to second...
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Scherzer adds to arsenal since his days in Detroit

Scherzer adds to arsenal since his days in Detroit
DETROIT - Max Scherzer today returns to the mound in a city where he had a lot of success with the Tigers as his Nationals look for a series win at Comerica Park. The right-hander spent five seasons with the Tigers from 2010-2014. He went 82-35 with a 3.52 ERA in 161 starts, earning two All-Star citations and winning the Cy Young for the first time in 2013. At Comerica Park, Scherzer went 46-13. His biggest regret was not being able to win the World Series for Detroit in 2012. The Giants swept...
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Game 83 lineups: Nats at Tigers

Game 83 lineups: Nats at Tigers
DETROIT - The Nationals go for their third series win in the last four in today's finale with former Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer starting for the Nats against former Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann has struggled through injuries this season and is 0-5 and looking for his first win. He will be on a pitch limit again today, but does not want to know the number. "There is," Zimmermann said of the pitch count. "I don't really know that when I go into the start. I...
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Rendon hits despite "nicks and bruises," but Nats fall 7-5

Rendon hits despite "nicks and bruises," but Nats fall 7-5
DETROIT - The Tigers outlasted the Nationals 7-5 as the bullpen faltered late Saturday from Comerica Park to even the series at 1-1. Arriving with a 5-3 lead, Tanner Rainey took the loss (1-3) when he walked two batters to open the door to a three-run Tigers' seventh inning rally, adding to a troubling weekend for the right-hander. Rainey has handed out four free passes in the first two games of the series which is a concern for Nationals manager Davey Martinez. "What I'm seeing is, for me,...
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Zimmermann reflects on '14 NLDS, prepares for Sunday start

Zimmermann reflects on '14 NLDS, prepares for Sunday start
DETROIT - The Nationals face off against an old teammate and friend in Sunday's finale when right-hander Max Scherzer opposes Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. The matchup features the pitchers who combined to throw all three of the Nats no-hitters. Zimmermann was a two-time All-Star with the Nats, helping to guide them to their first two postseason appearances in 2012 and 2014. He finished in the top seven in Cy Young voting in 2013 and 2014. The 2007 second-round selection also threw...
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Martinez on Rendon, Voth, Zimmerman and Venters (Nats lose 7-5)

Martinez on Rendon, Voth, Zimmerman and Venters (Nats lose 7-5)
DETROIT - Nationals manager Davey Martinez said one reason they decided to give right-hander Austin Voth another shot to start today was how he went after hitters last Sunday in the six innings of work against the Braves. "For me it was his aggressiveness," Martinez said. "Pounding the strike zone. Utilizing all of his pitches and throwing them for strikes. He was really good, really efficient. We thought that warranted another start for him here." Voth was able to get his fastball to 95-96...
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Game 82 lineups: Nats at Tigers

Game 82 lineups: Nats at Tigers
DETROIT - The Nationals look to go two games above .500 for the first time this season with a win Saturday in the second game of their series versus the Tigers at Comerica Park. Juan Soto continues to do Juan Soto things. His solo homer led off the second inning and set the tone for the Nationals 3-1 win over Detroit Friday night. Aníbal Sánchez tossed six innings allowing one run for his fourth win. "For me it's really important because we set the tone right away and the pitcher too,"...
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Notes on Taylor, Zimmerman, Rodney, Soto and being 41-40

Notes on Taylor, Zimmerman, Rodney, Soto and being 41-40
DETROIT - The Nationals sent outfielder Michael A. Taylor to Double-A Harrisburg to make room for the return of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. Taylor was batting .211 in 76 at-bats this season with no homers and two RBIs. Nationals manager Davey Martinez said he wants Taylor to play every day and get continous at-bats while with the Senators. "I've always said he's one of the best center fielders in the game," Martinez said. "He can steal bases, he can do a lot of things, and it was hard...
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Former Tigers Sánchez and Rodney guide Nats to 3-1 win

Former Tigers Sánchez and Rodney guide Nats to 3-1 win
DETROIT - A pair of former Tigers World Series pitchers came up big for the Nationals in Friday's series opener. Right-hander Aníbal Sánchez, who pitched for Detroit in the 2012 World Series, returned to his old stomping grounds and dodged trouble for six innings, while Juan Soto demonstrated his power, guiding the Nationals to the 3-1 victory over the Tigers at Comerica Park. The Nationals are now 41-40, moving above .500 for the first time since April 18. Newly signed reliever Fernando...
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Game 81 lineups: Nats at Tigers

Game 81 lineups: Nats at Tigers
DETROIT - The Nationals are back at .500 for the first time since April 23. In that timeframe, they have played 58 games and fell as many as 12 games under .500 (19-31). They were 10 games out of first place on May 25 and have trimmed the deficit to seven games with nine games remaining until the All-Star break. The Nats have matched the Dodgers as the hottest team in the National League, going 8-2 in their last 10 games. Washington are 2 1/2 games back of the NL wild card. At the end of...
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Answers to questions about early surprise squads

Answers to questions about early surprise squads
The answers to questions regarding the top five surprising teams in the early going on the season: Q: What is fueling the Tigers' first-place run in the American League Central? A: Pitching and defense. "This is about throwing the ball over the plate and catching it,'' Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said to the Detroit Free Press. "But we can't get too high on this stuff. There's a long way to go.'' The Tigers get a big test starting tonight when they play Cleveland in a series they'll...
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Opposite dugout: Tigers in middle of the pack, but still battling and still surprising

Opposite dugout: Tigers in middle of the pack, but still battling and still surprising
Manager: Ron Gardenhire (1st season) Record: 10-13 Last 10 games: 6-4 Who to watch: RF Nicholas Castellanos (.330 with 16 RBIs), 1B Miguel Cabrera (.325 with 16 RBIs), OF JaCoby Jones (.275, .345 OBP), C James McCann (10 RBIs), LHP Francisco Liriano (2-1, 3.13 ERA) Season vs. Orioles: 3-0 Pitching probables: April 27: RHP Mike Fiers (2-1) vs. RHP Chris Tillman (0-4), 7:05 p.m., MASN2April 28: LHP Francisco Liriano (2-1) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (1-3), 7:05 p.m., MASN2April 29: LHP Daniel Norris...
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Opposite dugout: Sleepy bats a factor in Tigers' slow start

Opposite dugout: Sleepy bats a factor in Tigers' slow start
Manager: Ron Gardenhire (1st year) Record: 4-9 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: 1B Miguel Cabrera (.245/.309/.367, 3 doubles), 2B Dixon Machado (7 doubles, 8 RBIs), 3B Jeimer Candelario (4 doubles, 1 HR), RF Nicholas Castellanos (.302/.362/.415, 2 triples), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (0-0, 8.18 ERA), RHP Shane Greene (3.86 ERA, 2 saves) Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (4-3 in 2017) Pitching probables: April 17: RHP Andrew Cashner (1-1) vs. LHP Francisco Liriano (1-1), 6:40 p.m., MASN2April...
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Indians taking run at third consecutive AL Central title

Indians taking run at third consecutive AL Central title
After losing the 2016 World Series in seven games and the 2017 Division Series to the Yankees in five games, the Cleveland Indians hope to take a run at a third consecutive American League Central championship. But their biggest competition comes from the Twins, a wild card team in 2017 that has added six players, including five pitchers, two of them starters. The White Sox and Tigers are in rebuild, although the White Sox are, unlike the Tigers, beyond the first step. The Royals lost two key...
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Opposite dugout: Pitching woes have Tigers looking up in AL Central

Opposite dugout: Pitching woes have Tigers looking up in AL Central
Manager: Brad Ausmus (4th season) Record: 49-57 Last 10 games: 5-5 Who to watch: LF Justin Upton (.279 with 18 HR, 69 RBIs); 1B Miguel Cabrera (.257 with 13 HR, 50 RBIs); 3B Nicholas Castellanos (57 RBIs, 98 hits); RHP Michael Fulmer (10-9, 3.59 ERA); RHP Justin Verlander (4.29 ERA, 126 Ks) Season series vs. Orioles: 2-1 Pitching probables: Aug. 3: LHP Matthew Boyd vs. RHP Chris Tillman, 7:05 p.m., MASNAug. 4: RHP Justin Verlander vs. RHP Kevin Gausman, 7:05 p.m., MASNAug. 5: RHP Michael Fulmer...
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Looking at closer issues around baseball

Looking at closer issues around baseball
The Nationals lead the National League East despite a bullpen that brings daily turbulence. This week at Nationals Park they will see first-hand that they aren't the only team with late-inning issues. The Nationals' bullpen ERA (5.40) is 29th in baseball. Seattle's bullpen has the highest ERA in the majors at 5.44, while San Diego is 27th at 5.04. The Mariners and Padres play in D.C. this week. Edwin Díaz, and his blazing fastball, was the Mariners closer at the season's start, but he...
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Opposite dugout: Tigers finding their way in lackluster AL Central

Opposite dugout: Tigers finding their way in lackluster AL Central
Manager: Brad Ausmus (4th season) Record: 18-18 Last 10 games: 4-6 Who to watch: LF Juston Upton (.259 average with 8 HR, 20 RBIs), 1B Miguel Cabrera (.238 average with 4 HR, 14 RBIs), 3B Nicholas Castellanos (.234 average with 22 RBIs, 34 hits), RHP Michael Fulmer (4-1, 2.54 ERA), RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-2 with 6.28 ERA) Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (2-5 in 2016) Pitching probables: May 16: LHP Wade Miley vs. LHP Matt Boyd, 7:10 p.m., MASN2May 17: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez vs. RHP...
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