It was an eventful weekend series as the Nationals hosted the Orioles for the first round of the so-called "Beltway Series" this weekend at Nationals Park. The Nats and O's face off again June 25th-27th at Camden Yards.
Although weather was an issue on and off this weekend, attendance seemed disappointing for what both teams' ownership (and MASN) are hoping to develop as a burgeoning rivalry series. Then again, both teams' performances since baseball's return to DC in 2005 have been continually less than stellar.
The Nationals took round one of the series 2-1 on Josh Willingham's 10th inning walk off this afternoon, after Matt Capps blew a 3-1 lead, his first blown save this season. In a series that featured a number of lead changes, the second inside the park home run at Nationals park within a week (off the bats of the Mets' Angel Pagan on Wednesday and the O's Adam Jones on Saturday), the Nationals looked as they have all season, manufacturing runs at the right times and getting solid relief pitching to hold on for close wins. Who knows whether or not this "rivalry" will develop into something more than a contest for regional bragging rights (and I'm not even sure about that). With today's win, the Nats took a 14-13 lead on the all-time series against the O's, and put themselves a game over .500 for the season (23-22). The Nats head on the road for a lengthy trip, facing off against the Giants, Padres, and cellar-dwelling Houston Astros.
In other Nats news:
- Reliever Drew Storen picked up his first MLB hit in today's game.
- Stephen Strasburg will make his next start tomorrow night for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs, squaring off against the Toledo Mud Hens. After tomorrow, will there be one more start before he arrives in DC? Pundits have predicted he may very well may make his debut for the big club in the first home series in June against the Reds.
- Rumors have circulated that the Nationals may be interested in trading for Astros P Roy Oswalt. Oswalt, who has asked to be dealt from the NL-worst Astros, as as a full no-trade clause and would need to approve a deal to Washington. What's more, he is owed a ton of money through 2011, a heafty burden for any team to take on. Its hard to imagine why the Nationals would want an extra arm, given that the current rotation has been moderately successful thus far, and Chien Mien Wang will be added to the rotation once his rehab is complete. Its hard to imagine the Nats parting with any of their farmhands in a deal for Oswalt at this point, but we will see what happens.