The Washington Nationals have faced the Orioles three times this year and lost two Josiah Gray starts by identical scores of 1-0. That is difficult to do once in a season, but twice? Tonight is the fourth and final game against the Orioles as the Nats are in search of their 70th win. They will face the right-handed Grayson Rodriguez who the Orioles drafted in the 1st round of the 2018 draft at the eleventh overall pick. He gave up 2-runs over 4 ⅓ innings against the Red Sox, then a masterpiece against the Rays, followed up six days ago with giving up 2-runs over 5.0 innings to the Guardians while issuing three walks in a no-decision.
The Nats have their inconsistent pitcher, Patrick Corbin, on the mound, and when he is bad — it feels like Groundhog Day. Over the past four seasons, you probably felt like you have seen it over and over about 50 times. For a veteran pitcher who was once an elite lefty starter, he just can’t get it done unless he has his slider working. If he doesn’t, you know what you are going to get. But when the the slider is biting, he can look like an ace. This is the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act that has another chapter coming next year. Of course we hope today is the ace on the mound in his final page of the 2023 season.
The Nats locked up Ildemaro Vargas today for the 2024 season. The do-it-all Vargas was arbitration-eligible, and he locks up one of the four bench spots with the back-up catcher plus two more players for Opening Day of 2024.
The only lock for the Nats infield is CJ Abrams, but the team controls Dom Smith (arbitration-eligible), Luis Garcia (could be Super-2 eligible), and Carter Kieboom. Plus Joey Meneses is a backup first baseman and designated hitter, and he is team-controlled. Jake Alu has played both infield and left field and could also find a way on the roster. With Brady House as the heir apparent for third base in the near-future, the infield looks crowded — but of all of the names mentioned, only Abrams and Meneses have produced offensively above average, and none of the infielders have shown much power. When your leading home run hitter is the skinny Abrams, over all of those names mentioned — you have a problem.
Here is how they rank by starter’s ERA:
No. 7 Starter: Joan Adon 6.54
No. 6 Starter: Jackson Rutledge 6.00
No. 5 Starter: Trevor Williams 5.55
No. 4 Starter: Patrick Corbin 5.13
No. 3 Starter: Jake Irvin 4.61
No. 2 Starter: MacKenzie Gore 4.42
No. 1 Starter: Josiah Gray 3.91
Here is your Baseball Savant link for the game.
Washington Nationals vs. Baltimore Orioles
Stadium: Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
1st Pitch: 6:35 pm EDT
Radio: 106.7 The Fan radio and via the MLB app