Orioles vs. Nationals: Rivalry or not?

In honor of the last game in the Beltway Series between the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, we figured we’d bring in our resident Orioles and Nationals experts to take the status of how each teams’ fans view the other. Will there be smack talk? You’ll have to find out.

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Byline MattWhen I sit at home, I realize it’s 7:05 p.m: time for Orioles baseball. I change the channel to 247 (for Comcast users in Harford County) and up pops a Nationals game. I scowl at the TV and think to myself: Why are THEY on MASN? Why do the Orioles have to play on MASN 2?

That’s how I feel about the Nationals. And I have a feeling that many around Baltimore feel this same way. The Nationals are our neighbors to the South, and we don’t mind them for most of the year. However, when they get in our way of watching our team on MASN, then we have a problem.

Does that make it a rivalry? Or is it more of hatred of inconvenience?

I’d go for the latter in this instance. I sure don’t hate any Nationals players not named Bryce Harper and I sure don’t cheer against the Nationals. But I swear, there’s a certain fury that engulfs me when I see the Nationals playing on MASN.

The same goes for when the Nationals are successful; I’m not a big fan. However, it wasn’t a problem from when the team started in 2005 through the 2011 season. The Nationals and Orioles were equally awful and I mean awful. Neither team had a winning season and Washington finished with 100+ wins twice in that span.

However, the 2012 season changed everything for Washington and Baltimore. The Nationals won their division and the Orioles made it to the ALDS via the Wild Card game. It was the Nationals best year in their eight years of existence and I got a little jealous after the World Series predictions.

I saw Nationals fans begin to pop up around the DC area; ones that were Orioles fans by default in the years before their city had a baseball team. There was a uprising of Nattiude and I was not happy about it.

So when the Nationals lost tragically in Game 5 of the ALDS to the St. Louis Cardinals, I couldn’t help but feel a little relief. We wanted excitement in the Baltimore-Washington region, but we didn’t want DC to have it all.

It sounds a lot like I’m spewing hate towards Washington; that’s not entirely true. I can travel down to DC and cheer on the Nationals (especially our pal Nate McLouth). I might even vote for Anthony Rendon for the All-Star game, because I simply like the way he plays.

I love watching Stephen Strasburg strike batters out. It’s something I wish the Orioles could find.

See? I wish the Nationals the best. I want them to be good, just not too good.

Is it a rivalry? No, but if we make the World Series, it sure will be!

Gabby

Byline GabbyAs a Nationals fan, I can’t honestly say that I think of the Orioles as serious enemies or rivals. This whole Battle of the Beltway thing seems like something made up to make us hate each other. I mean yeah, they are the closest team to us, but we only play them once a year.

Now going to a school in the Baltimore area, I have to defend my Nationals in a sea of O’s fans. I love joking to my friends who like them that I want them to lose, but honestly (unless they are playing the Nats) I don’t care about them.

But I have to say, those of us not from Baltimore aren’t a huge fan of the “O” thing you all do during the National Anthem. I am going to a game in August, and I was told that I have to, “sing the O really loud during the National Anthem.” No, I’m OK.

Also, some people have this weird view on Baltimore culture. People like to claim that seeing “The Wire” contributes to their beliefs. They think it’s dirty and scary. And you know it might be both of those things, but I still like it!

I cannot speak for every single Nationals fan when I say the Orioles aren’t that important to us. However, the hype that builds up when they play each other is pretty high and makes me feel like they are a huge rival. But think about it, is it only because we are 38 miles away from each other?

I think we can all agree though that a Nats vs. Orioles World Series would be pretty amazing though!

Is it a rivalry? No.

Hot Hitting Fueling Wins

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Byline GabbyHello all, I am back with another addition of Nats Corner!!!

The Nationals (48-39) are having a nice little run, winning seven out of their last eight games. However, they are second in the NL East because the Atlanta Braves (49-39) are doing well too. They have won nine out of their last 10. Can they just stop, please?

East W L PCT GB L10 STRK HOME ROAD
Atlanta 49 39 .557 9-1 L1 25-19 24-20
Washington 48 39 .552 0.5 7-3 W2 28-18 20-21
Miami 43 45 .489 6.0 4-6 W2 27-22 16-23
NY Mets 39 49 .443 10.0 3-7 W1 19-22 20-27
Philadelphia 37 51 .420 12.0 1-9 L3 18-27 19-24

WELCOME BACK BRYCE! And Ramos! They were most definitely missed.

The Nats winning streak can, in part, be thanks to the return of these two power hitters.

Ramos has had a hit in every game he played since his return, adding a homerun. He also has the second best batting average on the team, .289. He was definitely missed.

National’s fans were eagerly awaiting the first pitch on June 30. It was the return of Bryce Harper, also Bryce Harper bobblehead night! (Actually not planned that way).

Since the left fielder has returned he has hit in four of his six games, with an RBI and scored a run.

Power hitting has returned to the Nationals lineup and I’m hopeful that they can score more runs. This was evident when they crushed the Cubs, 13-0, Saturday.

But let’s not forget other players who have been contributing!

Denard Span. He hit two doubles in yesterday’s game against the Cubs. He has five doubles in the last 10 games. He’s third in the National league in doubles with 28. He also likes to steal bases (this is the kind of stealing we can let slide) LOL GET IT? Anyway, he is 10th in the NL with 13 stolen bases so far this season.

Anthony Rendon. He has been red-hot these past few games. In Saturday’s game alone he went 3-for-4, hit three doubles and recorded three runs, two RBI and a walk. Not bad. He also has had a nine-game hitting streak. He is currently fifth in the NL with 60 runs. This season he has 94 hits, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 12 homeruns and 50 RBI.

Rendon is currently in the running to be in the All-Star Game. So, I mean, if you all wanted to you could vote for him! He would join his teammate Jordan Zimmerman who will be pitching for the NL.

Don’t think that I forgot that the Nationals will be playing the Orioles for the next four days… I know and there will be trash talking. HA just kidding, but I am thankful to not be in Towson for these games.

Let the Battle of the Beltways Commence!

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Pitching is great, but where’s the offense?

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Byline GabbySORRY FOR THE LONG BREAK NATS LOVERS! I was with my sister as she had a baby and I was obsessing over my adorable little niece for a long time but I’m here now!

So much has been going on since we last met and I honestly do not even know what to talk about. Taking the series against the Giants, losing all games in St. Louis, splitting with the Braves, the great pitching and the need for more hitting.  I think I will focus on the pitching and hitting.

East W L
Washington 40 35
Atlanta 38 37
Miami 38 38
NY Mets 35 41
Philadelphia 34 41

The Nationals are sitting atop the NL East at 40-35, two games ahead of the Braves. Right now, they are in the midst of a three-game winning streak.

The pitching can be thanked for that. In the last three games, the Nationals’ pitching has held opponents to a total of four runs.

It is not all about the starting pitchers, either. The closer can’t be ignored, with Rafael Soriano recording 17 saves so far.

Newcomer Doug Fister is also having an impressive start to his Nationals career. In his eight starts, he has gone 6-2. His latest win against the Braves has gotten attention. Mostly because the Nationals also seem to have problems when facing them (they don’t like to win). He held the Braves to only five hits and no runs.

While the pitching is doing its part, the hitting is lacking. The highest batting average on the team belongs to Adam LaRoche at .310. That is pretty good, but that being the highest causes concern. As a team, the average is a weak .247. That is not going to cut it when we get to the postseason. Monday against the Brewers, Danny Espinosa struck out three times. THREE.

Also do not get me started as to how they had the bases loaded with no outs and didn’t score. However, the called strikeout for Espinosa was questioned by Nats’ manager Matt Williams, which later got him ejected from the game. That was his first time ejected as manager. I did not see the throw, but I am sure he had good reasons for wanting to talk.

Hopefully the return of Bryce Harper and Wilson Ramos will bring some power back into the lineup.

The Nationals will hope to add to their win streak as they face on the Brewers again today at 2:10 p.m. at Miller Park.

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Byline GabbyFirst off, I want to say that I understand this is a Baltimore sports blog. However, there has to be someone you know that enjoys the Washington Nationals as much as I do. Also the struggle of going to a Baltimore college and being a Washington D.C. sports fan is hard enough, so just let me have this one, OK?

After the rain-affected the Nats game last night (a one-hour, 48-minute delay), the team managed to pull out the curly W at Nationals Park and beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 8-4.

They remain third in the NL East at 29-28, only 1.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves, who own the top spot. (This is the closest division in all baseball right now, just saying).

The Nationals have won four of their last five games, and have scored 34 runs in those games.

BUT the biggest story for the Nationals right now is the return of third baseman, or should I say left fielder Ryan Zimmerman. Zimmerman returned Tuesday for the first time since his injury on April 12.

For the first time in all his career in baseball, Ryan Zimmerman did not walk to third base, but to left field. His old spot is occupied by Anthony Rendon, who is having a pretty good season himself so far.

Until the return of Harper, which is likely to be early July, Zimmerman will have that position.

On Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies, Zimmerman was able to show his abilities by running and catching a ball hit by Chase Utley. Also in that game, Zimmerman smacked a double in his first at-bat, then had a RBI double in the fifth inning. Not a bad first game back.

Last night, the start belonged to Steven Strasburg who had 11 strikeouts, making that 101 for the season. He also added a RBI single.

Many Nationals are getting their bats ignited with hits these days. Rendon, Denard Span and Danny Espinosa all had more than one hit in last night’s game. Only two players were without hits: Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond.

Both hope to add to the list of hitters in today’s game against the Phillies. The Nationals try to get the sweep today at 4:05 p.m.