Image Credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images
After taking two of three from the Braves to start their most recent six-game road trip, the O’s were swept by the Mets and dominated by their pitching staff. The O’s totaled three runs in those three games and didn’t look anything like the team who scored 27 runs in three games against the Pirates just over a week ago. Now, the O’s have the Nationals coming into town for a three-game weekend set at Camden Yards. The good news for the O’s, though, is that they won’t have to face the Nationals’ two best pitchers in Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez. This bodes fairly well for the O’s lineup considering how they have struggled scoring of late. The task will still be a tough one, though, as the Nationals’ pitching staff boasts the best ERA in baseball at 3.00.

Who’s Hot

Jason Hammel – Hammel had his best outing of the season last Saturday against the Braves, tossing a complete game shutout. The only hit he allowed came in the seventh inning when Jason Heyward squeaked a single into left field. He leads the team with a 2.87 ERA and is tied with Wei-Yin Chen with seven wins. He is going up against Jordan Zimmerman in tonight’s game, which should be one of the premier pitching matchups of the weekend.

Wei-Yin Chen- The rookie left-hander has been a pleasant surprise so far this season for a team who badly needed starting pitchers. He pitched especially well in his most recent outing against the Braves, where he went seven innings allowing just six hits and no runs. Even though he only struck out two batters, he made up for it by inducing Braves’ hitters to ground out 13 times. Chen’s next scheduled start is Saturday against the Nationals, who tagged him for a season high six earned runs and eight hits.

Who’s Not

O’s hitters- Instead of trying to pick out a few guys who have been struggling, I’m just going to make it easy and list the entire O’s lineup. The O’s were held scoreless for 28 innings, which is the longest streak since their 29-inning drought in 2003. They totaled just 12 hits in the entire series and struck out 29 times. They are now tied with the Houston Astros for the league lead in strikeouts with 573.

Here is a look at how some of the O’s top hitters have fared over the past seven days.

J.J. Hardy – 2-for-24
Chris Davis – 0-for-18
Mark Reynolds – 1-for-15
Matt Wieters – 3-for-15
Adam Jones – 5-for-20

It may not get any better this weekend, either. As I said before, the Nationals have the best pitching staff in the majors, so it’s going to be tough sledding for the O’s this weekend. Hopefully the O’s pitching staff can keep pace with the Nationals and they can score a few timely runs. The good news is that the O’s are still only 2.5 games behind the Yankees for first place. We’ll see if the same will be true after this weekend.

Submitted by Steve Giles