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A True Battle of the Beltways

Posted by Thursday, May 17, 2012

The “Battle of the Beltways” is the slogan used to describe the Orioles versus Nationals series each season. Conversely, it’s always been more of the battle of which team can get to 90 losses first.
Since the series started in 2006 the games have been fairly evenly matched although neither team has had a promising finish come October. However, could the tide be turning this season? Could it be the year that both Baltimore and Washington baseball franchises have been waiting for?
The rivalry is fairly new but there are many Nats fans that feel strongly about it since it was the O’s Peter Angelos that opposed the move of the Expos to DC for many years.
But all negative feelings aside, this is the first meaningful Battle of the Beltways series in recent memory, both teams need to win this weekend to keep pace within their competitive divisions.
As of May 17th both annual cellar dwellers are in first place in their respected divisions. And both teams have looked strong to this point. With the most important aspect being they are winning games with gutsy performances within their divisions.
The latest ESPN Power Rankings has the Orioles in the third spot with the Nationals close on their heels ranking in at number six.
The Nats lead Major League Baseball in team ERA and Strikeouts, whereas the O’s lead the pack with a whopping 60 homeruns.
While this was expected out of the Nationals and their pitching staff this season, the Orioles run has been a welcomed surprise.
Now as a faithful O’s fan who has endured 14 straight losing seasons, I’m always skeptical of strong starts, as my emotions have been toyed with before. However, this season already seems different; there is a spark that I haven’t seen before.
We aren’t playing as individuals but as a team. And as a result, top to bottom guys are contributing. Newcomers, Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel have been superb starters and our bullpen has been a sight for sore eyes. Reliable Jim Johnson continued his streak with 22 consecutive saves this afternoon. And Adam Jones continues to keep the clutch homerun in his back pocket, but at the same time 11 other players on the team have homeruns; up and down the lineup guys are producing.
Now whether these young teams can withstand the long grueling season remains to be seen but the excitement is contagious!
So this weekend when the O’s make the trip down the Parkway to Nationals Park let’s fill the stands with orange and make the National Anthem “O” ring throughout the stadium.
Let’s keep this ball rolling!


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