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Baltimore Orioles vs. Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats, O’s stumble into beltway battle

The Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles have both struggled as of late and will aim to get back on track against their local rivals.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles (20-50) vs. Nationals (38-32) series info:

Game 1: Tuesday, June 19 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Wednesday, June 20 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Game 3: Thursday, June 21 at 7:05 p.m. EST (MASN/106.7)

Pitching matchups:

Monday: David Hess (2-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Jefry Rodriguez (4.2 IP, 0 ER)

Tuesday: Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.98) vs. Gio Gonzalez (6-3, 3.01)

Wednesday: TBA (Kevin Gausman?) vs. Max Scherzer (10-3, 2.06)

What to watch for:

It’s been a tough past few weeks for the ballclubs of the DMV

Over their past 15 games, the Nationals are 5-10. Over their past 19 games, the Orioles are 3-16. It hasn’t been pretty either, as the two teams have been walked off on three times and shut out eight times between them over those stretches. Bryce Harper has one hit in his last 25 at-bats and Alex Cobb has allowed 17 earned runs over his last three starts.

If the season were to end today, the Nationals would be pitted against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Game 163 for the second NL Wild Card and the Orioles would be owners of the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft. It’s likely going to be a tough season the rest of the way for Baltimore fans but the Nats need a series win in D.C. to get back on track.

Rodriguez gets another opportunity

It’s not ideal to make your major-league debut one batter into a game following your starter exiting with an injury — especially when you threw 87 pitches in a Double-A start just four days prior. None of that mattered for Jefry Rodriguez, who responded with a gutsy 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball to keep the Nats’ bullpen from getting overly taxed in Atlanta.

Rodriguez will now get a chance to make his first career start against the team that’s scored the fewest runs in the majors. Let’s see what the kid can do.

First look at Herrera

Kelvin Herrera made it to the District in time for tonight’s series opener. He’ll slide in along Ryan Madson and Justin Miller as one of the team’s primary setup men when he makes his debut in D.C.

Once Brandon Kintzler returns from the disabled list, the Nats will have five arms capable of handling the later innings in Sean Doolittle (75 career saves), Herrera (57), Madson (90), Kintzler (48) and Miller (1). As for the rest of the bullpen, pick your two favorites out of Sammy Solis, Matt Grace, Tim Collins, Shawn Kelley and Wander Suero.

Series history:

The Orioles lead the all-time series (2005-present) 38-29 but were swept in the three-game series played at Camden Yards between these two teams earlier this season. If the Nats win at least one game in this series, it will mark the first time Washington wins a season series over Baltimore since 2007.