Washington (32-42) at Baltimore (33-41)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Fri Jun 23, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Washington Nationals are hoping that the return of promising starter John Patterson can help them end their latest slump.

Patterson is expected to be back on the mound for the first time in more than two months when the Nationals open a three-game beltway series with the Baltimore Orioles.

The right-hander (1-0, 3.86 ERA) is set to make his first start since April 21, when he gave up three runs in 7 2-3 innings of Washington’s 7-3 win over Atlanta and didn’t receive a decision. Patterson has been on the disabled list with right forearm tendinitis and has made three rehab starts in the minors.

“I feel good. I am anticipating coming back,” Patterson said. “I’ve been scouting Baltimore, getting prepared to pitch. I feel like I’m ready to go. I have that anxious feeling to get on the mound.”

Patterson said after his last rehab start Saturday that he was ready to throw 75 to 90 pitches, or about six innings.

“The pace of the game—sometimes that’s one of the toughest things when you’re coming back off of a rehab, to get into the flow of the game and be able to control it,” Patterson said.

Patterson, 28, went 9-7 with a 3.13 ERA in 31 starts last season. He has never faced Baltimore.

Washington (32-42) was swept in three games at Boston, capped by Wednesday’s 9-3 loss. The Red Sox outscored the Nationals 26-9 and outhit them 46-22 in the series.

“The pitching wasn’t very good this series and the hitting was nonexistent,” manager Frank Robinson said. “We had no chance.”

The Nationals have allowed at least 10 hits in 10 of the last 13 games, and are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.

First baseman Nick Johnson missed his fourth consecutive game Wednesday night because of back spasms. The results of an MRI were negative, and he remains day-to-day.

The Orioles (33-41) have dropped three of four, including Thursday’s heartbreaking 8-5, 10-inning loss to Florida. Baltimore led 5-1 with one out in the ninth before rallying against Baltimore closer Chris Ray, who had been 18-for-18 in save situations this season.

Todd Williams gave up the go-ahead run in the 10th when Miguel Cabrera hit an RBI single on what was supposed to be the first pitch of an intentional walk.

“I don’t know how much sleep I’m going to get,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “It’s a tough loss, one we should have had that got away from us.”

Catcher Ramon Hernandez snapped an 0-for-23 skid with two homers, driving in his first runs since June 12.

Rodrigo Lopez (4-8, 6.85) will take the mound for the Orioles on Friday. He gave up six runs and seven hits, including three homers, in a season-low 3 2-3 innings of a 6-3 loss to Toronto on June 14.

Lopez, who had gone 3-0 with a 3.25 ERA in his previous four starts, was upset that this start was pushed back several days. Perlozzo said he wanted to keep the rest of the rotation on its regular schedule.

“I had been doing better and gotten back on track,” Lopez said. “I just had one bad outing, and they made their decision. There’s nothing I can do about it. I’ve just got to be patient. The only thing I can do is try to get my stuff back.”

Lopez made his only career start against the Nationals on May 20, allowing six runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-3 defeat, capping a six-start losing streak.

Washington won two of three against Baltimore in May in the first series between the teams this season. The Nationals franchise leads the series 11-7.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

J. Patterson Tex vs. R. Lopez Phi
1-2 Record 9-18
4.43 ERA 5.90
42 K 136
9 BB 59
1.11 WHIP 1.55