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May 8, 2024 7:40 am

Nationals, over .500, aim to sweep 2-game set with Orioles

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The Washington Nationals enter their game against the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday evening in unfamiliar territory.

After taking the opener of their two-game series 3-0 on Tuesday night, the Nationals (18-17) are above .500 for the first time since a victory on July 1, 2021.

The Nationals have won eight of their past 11 games and, after three failed attempts, they won the game that gave them a winning record.

“We’re playing tremendous baseball right now,” said Trevor Williams, who outdueled Orioles ace Corbin Burnes in the win on Tuesday. “And to come in and beat a team tonight like we did that’s playing really good baseball … is huge for us. And to be over .500 for the first time since 2021, I think is a huge step forward for this team. I’m thankful that I’m part of it.”

Left-hander Mitchell Parker (2-1, 2.53 ERA) will start as the Nationals go for the sweep. Right-hander Kyle Bradish (0-0, 1.93) is the scheduled starter for the Orioles.

Bradish enjoyed a stellar 2023, going 12-7 with a 2.83 ERA and 168 strikeouts in 168 2/3 innings and starting Game 1 of the playoffs. However, a UCL sprain landed him on the injured list to start the season.

The 27-year-old made his season debut against the New York Yankees last Thursday. Bradish didn’t factor into the decision, allowing one run on four hits, two walks and one hit batter with five strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings.

“I get nervous before every start,” Bradish said. “That is just anticipation of being a starter — you have four or five days between outings to look ahead and get prepared. But once I threw that first pitch, I was focused and locked in.”

Bradish is 2-0 in his career vs. Washington and hasn’t allowed a run over 14 innings.

Parker, 24, will make his fifth start in the majors and has allowed three earned runs or less in each outing. Against the Texas Rangers on Thursday, Parker gave up three runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings and took the loss. He struck out five and walked two.

“Struggled to put things where we wanted, leaving too much on the zone, able to give up too much hard contact,” Parker said. “Just have to keep attacking guys.”

Williams and four relievers combined on a three-hit shutout in the Nationals’ 3-0 win on Tuesday night. Joey Meneses and Jesse Winker had two hits each for the Nationals, who stole four bases and snapped a seven-game winless streak against the Orioles.

Baltimore’s starting pitchers had gone 22 consecutive innings without allowing a run until Meneses’ hit-and-run single scored Winker in the second inning.

Orioles hitters went a combined 3-for-31 without a walk as the team was shut out for just the second time this season.

“The starter stayed around the edges,” Baltimore’s Ryan O’Hearn said. “He was getting a lot of calls around the edges. Kind of kept us off-balance. Offensively, just one of those nights we couldn’t get anything going.”

O’Hearn and manager Brandon Hyde were ejected for arguing a called strike three on O’Hearn in the ninth against Nationals closer Kyle Finnegan.

–Field Level Media

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