Washington's '09 no.1 overall pick, Stephen Strasburg, pitched in front of a crowd of 35,126 fans, a good number of them cheering on the Baltimore Orioles, back on July 7th in the nation's capitol, giving up four hits and two earned runs in seven innings, and afterwards he talked about the balance inside Nationals Park being tilted slightly in the O's favor in the first game of the 2014 Beltway Series.
"Maybe some day it will be different," the right-hander, who turned 26 on July 20th, told reporters. "But obviously that franchise has been around a lot longer than we have, and can't really worry about it too much so hopefully our fans travel well after tomorrow."
"I think it's great," Matt Williams said of his first experience of the Interleague series between the regional rivals, which took place on a Monday night in the Nats' home.
"We talked about it a little on the bench. If it was a weekend series it would probably even bigger so that's, of course, people have to work, but it's great. I think it's a nice rivalry. Different leagues of course, but everybody from the same area, two local teams, it's a good atmosphere."
The next day's game was rained out, so the second game the regional rivals played that week took place in Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Doug Fister led the Nationals to a 6-2 win in the series opener in Baltimore, with a seven-inning outing in which he gave up seven hits, two walks and two earned runs. Fister needed 31 pitches to get through a long opening frame, giving up one of the two runs he allowed on an RBI single by Chris Davis in the Orioles' first and the other on a Manny Machado home run in the fourth. He finished the outing with three scoreless.
Nats' shortstop Ian Desmond, who went 1 for 4 with a home run in the Nats' one win in the series, praised Fister's effort.
"That's what I think Mike [Rizzo] brought him here for, you know," Desmond said.
"He wasn't sharp early, he identified it, made the adjustment and continued to hold it to that three runs. And gave us a chance to win the ballgame."
"Everyone kept saying it was a good series," Gio Gonzalez said after he lost his start in the series finale.
"Very well put together. It showed that there is a lot of hope in the Beltway Series. They looked good. We looked good. It was just... it was a fun game all around. Everyone had some fun, we all got some smiles out of it, but at the end of the day, we've got to go out there and do our job. And again, like I said, if I want to go out there, I've got to do my job and keep the ball down and get the outs when I need it."
Gonzalez gave up six hits, three walks and four runs, three earned in 6 ⅔ IP that night, striking out seven, but O's lefty Wei-Yin Chen got the win in what ended up a 4-3 game at OPACY.
"Good games," Matt Williams said after the third of three.
"Tight games. They got us late in the first one, but good games to be a part of. We wish we could have won two of the three, but we'll get them again on August 4th and see what we can do."
"We've got to play them again," Orioles' skipper Buck Showalter said after the O's win at home, anticipating the makeup game that was scheduled for August 4th in Washington. "I think we heard today they're going to make us play at night there. So, that's their prerogative. It's a good team. Two good teams. I hope it was two good. I know they're good. Playing good baseball, games are starting to dwindle now getting close to played 100 game mark before too long."
When they made the postponed game in D.C. up in front of 42,181 fans last night, 23-year-old Orioles' starter Kevin Gausman told reporters including CSNWashington.com's Chase Hughes that he noticed another large contingent of Orioles fans
had traveled south again showed up to take in the final game between the Mid-Atlantic rivals, and had reason to cheer in what ended up a 7-3 win.
Kevin Gausman on tonight's crowd: 'Oh yeah, I noticed in the dugout... You definitely could tell it was more O's than #Nats, I thought.'— Chase Hughes (@chasehughesCSN) August 5, 2014
In the intervening weeks between the third and final currently-scheduled games between the Nationals and the O's in 2014, the two teams' ongoing dispute over MASN media rights went public, just weeks after Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters gathered in Minnesota for the 2014 All-Star Game that there was, "'... a 'good chance' of a resolution in the next several months," as Eric Fisher of the SportsBusiness Journal wrote on July 16th.
Selig said a lot of work and attention to detail went in to getting the two sides where they were and explained that his objective was, "'... to keep away from what used to go on in this sport, where you had owners fighting owners publicly.'"
Two weeks after those comments from Selig, The Hollywood Reporter's Eriq Gardner wrote that the dispute was now very-much public. As of today, there is still no resolution to that ongoing dispute...
In taking three of the four games between the teams this season, the Orioles improved to 29-21 overall in the Beltway Series, which began in 2006, and improved 10-9 in the games played in Nationals Park, which opened in 2008. Both teams continue to lead their respective divisions, the Nationals by 3.0 games over the Atlanta Braves and the Orioles by 4.0 games over Toronto.