Last week, the last place Orioles lost a game that was not played in a stadium rather they lost in the court of law in the umpteenth round of the 7-year MASN network television rights dispute. A New York judge upheld a second arbitration award from the reformed MLB RSDC arbitration panel. That ruling ordered the network to pay the Washington Nationals $296.8 million in rights fees for the 2012-2016 seasons. This ruling did not even include the rights fees for the 2017-2021 seasons which is part of the second 5-year reset with three years almost in the books for 2017, 2018, and this season.
A New York Supreme Court judge, Joel M. Cohen, rejected the Orioles’s and the Angelos families’ latest request to throw-out the award based on questions about conflicts of interest and impartiality of the Major League Baseball formed arbitration panel known as the RSDC. The $296.8 million award includes what has been reported to include $197.5 million that MASN already paid the Nationals for annual rights fees covering the 2012-2016 season which would leave almost $100 million plus interest due for that period to the Nationals if the award survives any further appeal, but since the Nationals are also partial owners of MASN, any restated earnings for those periods would cause the Nationals to pay back their prorated portion of the profits. Yes, this is very complicated.
Possibly related or unrelated to the MASN ruling, the Orioles had mass layoffs/firings of employees which included eleven members of their scouting department. Those moves were made so close to the MASN ruling you have to wonder why they did it now and the true reasoning behind it. How much money will that save?
So here we are with a two game series with those Baltimore Orioles at Nationals Park. This used to be a series that meant so much to both teams when they both had playoff aspirations. MASN still calls it The Battle of the Beltways, but now it feels like just an annoying Traffic Jam of the Beltways. The Nationals are battling towards the postseason as the Orioles are looking just to survive as they are only 12-losses from booking back-to-back 100 loss seasons. Their team is also rumored to be in-play for a sale and possible relocation which could be nothing more than an Angelos ploy.
The Nationals will send Patrick Corbin to the mound, and the Orioles have the right-handed Aaron Brooks who the Nats faced earlier in the season. Brooks currently has a 6.21 ERA, and when he faced the Nats before, he did not even make it through the batting order twice.
When these teams met in mid-July, the Nationals pitched Austin Voth and Erick Fedde, and the Nats bullpen was in disarray. This time around, the Nats will be pitching Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer with a fortified bullpen and a deeper roster.
The Nats also have three notable players who are eligible to return from the 10-day IL. There is no word if Sean Doolittle will come off of the IL tomorrow when eligible after he was placed on the IL on August 18th with right knee tendinitis. Doolittle has not thrown a bullpen session as of this point which most likely means he will remain on the IL past the ten day mark. Ryan Zimmerman has been on a rehab assignment since August 16. He is 6-16 in the five partial games he has played, and while Zim feasted on High-A pitchers over the weekend, the big power has not returned yet. Zim had no home runs in his last stint with the Nats, and you have to believe the Nats want to see that power stroke. Roenis Elias has been on the IL since August 4th with a right hamstring strain and has been throwing bullpen sessions.
Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals
Stadium: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
1st Pitch: 7:05 pm EDT
TV: MASN, MASN2 Orioles, MLB.TV
Nats Radio: 106.7 FM The Fan; SiriusXM® ( Streaming Internet 869)
Line-up subject to change (without notice):