A day off followed by an encouraging result has put the Washington Nationals in a rare good mindset.
Now it's a matter of following through and building on that in Wednesday night's road matchup with the Baltimore Orioles.
"(It's) about giving these guys some confidence," Nationals manager Davey Martinez said following Tuesday night's 3-0 victory in Baltimore. "We've got to continue to do that. Let's keep that going."
The Nationals have won two games in a row after an eight-game skid. A day off Monday helped the cause.
"I thought it would reboot the guys and it seemed like it did that," Martinez said.
Four pitchers combined on a four-hitter, led by Erick Fedde's six-inning effort. With relievers refreshed following some time off, they were in good situations in Tuesday's tight game. And with no reliever throwing more than an inning, that could be a plus going into the final game of the two-game set.
"Giving these guys days off is really big," Martinez said. "It sets up our bullpen really nicely."
The Orioles took a dip offensively after some recent signs that they might be turning it around.
"We just didn't square many balls up," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "I think our at-bats these past few weeks have been pretty good ... But we just didn't have a lot of hard contact."
The Orioles seem stymied too frequently on offense. They've failed to score more than two runs in four of their last eight games. Yet the outcome Tuesday night ended a string of three straight one-run results for Baltimore.
"We had an off night offensively," Hyde said. "We're working the right way. Guys have been improving. (Tuesday) we just collectively didn't do a whole lot offensively."
Designed hitter Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits after sitting out Sunday's game with a sore right hand.
If Hyde senses a need for an offensive jolt, he could turn to infielder Rylan Bannon, who was called up from Triple-A Norfolk. He homered in three of six International League games last week but didn't play Tuesday.
"We just wanted to add an extra infielder in case of something happening," Hyde said. "Rylan has been showing some recent power there in Norfolk, swung the bat fairly well and gives us a bat off the bench."
The Nationals will go with left-hander Patrick Corbin (3-9, 6.59 ERA) as the starter Wednesday night. Corbin had his shortest start since April in his most recent outing, giving up nine runs, though only two were earned, in 3 1/3 innings in Thursday's 10-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Corbin is just 1-3 with a 5.34 ERA in six all-time meetings (five starts) vs. the Orioles.
Right-hander Tyler Wells (4-4, 3.62 ERA) will get the call for the Orioles. Wells has won his past three decisions and Baltimore has won in his last four starts. Wells suffered a loss in May 2021 at Washington in his only outing against the Nationals.
This marks the close of Baltimore's five-game homestand prior to a 10-game road trip. The Orioles are 2-2 so far.
--Field Level Media