The Better Team: Nationals or Orioles?
- All-StarsWashington will be represented exclusively by RHP Jordan Zimmermann (6-4, 2.79 ERA) unless infielder Anthony Rendon (.282 avg., 12 HR, 50 HR) is voted in during the final All-Star voting push.Baltimore had three players voted as starters for the Midsummer Classic in Minneapolis. DH Nelson Cruz and CF Adam Jones will be there, but C Matt Wieters is out after having Tommy John surgery.
- RecordThe Nats have been see-sawing with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East during the first half of the year. Currently, Washington trails Atlanta by a narrow margin.The Birds are perched atop the AL East with a two-game advantage over the Toronto Blue Jays entering the Beltway Series against the Nats.
- Top Offensive ThreatsIt's hard to argue that it's anyone other than Rendon. In 333 plate appearances entering the Battle of the Beltways, he was hitting .282 with 94 hits, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 12 homers and 50 RBIs. Of course you could also throw Adam LaRoche into the conversation, but in this instance we're giving him honorable mention.Take your pick: Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis. Jones is Mr. Consistant with 112 hits, including 16 homers and 18 doubles, and 53 RBI in 361 trips to the plate. Cruz is crushing the ball with 27 home runs and 71 RBI so far. Markakis, the lefty of the group, has a .292 average with 108 hits, both good enough for second on the team.
- Top Pitching ThreatsZimmermann is headed the All-Star, but Doug Fister has been pitching lights out. In 11 starts, Fister has a 7-2 record with a solid 2.93 ERA. Right behind him is reliever Tyler Clippard who has fanned 50 batters in 41 appearances trips to the mound. His 1.89 ERA isn't too shabby either. And let's not forget reliever Rafael Soriano who has been nothing short of All-Star worthy this season.Wei-Yin Chen has pitched his way to a team-best 8-3 record. His 69 strikeouts are second only to Ubaldo Jimenez. His 4.12 ERA is respectable, but could be lower if he wasn't so inclined to give up the long ball.
Sorry Nats fans. The Battle of the Beltways belongs to Baltimore. Of course, this 2-and-2 series could prove us wrong.