Red-hot Nationals try to keep Orioles down

The disparity in how things are going for the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals has been on display for two nights at Camden Yards.

While the Nationals are rolling, especially outside of Washington, the Orioles are careening through a nightmarish two months.

The Nationals (31-22) can get their 10th straight road victory Wednesday night as they attempt to sweep the Orioles, who are closing in on the worst record in baseball.

Washington prevailed 3-2 on Tuesday when Bryce Harper had three hits, including his major league-leading 17th homer. The nine straight road wins are the franchise’s most since moving from Montreal following the 2004 season. It also occurred Sept. 12-26, 2011 and the Nationals are a major-league best 19-8 on the road.

Though actually, it does not matter where the game takes place. The Nationals were 11-16 following a 4-3 home loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 28 and are 20-6 in their last 26 games since despite Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy and Howie Kendrick being on the disabled list.

“Everyone’s been stepping up, next-man mentality,” Harper told reporters. “If we get our guys back and keep having fun, doing the things we need to, then we’ll be OK.”

Baltimore is far from OK after its fourth straight loss.

The Orioles are 17-38 and their .309 winning percentage is one point behind the Chicago White Sox (16-36).

Manny Machado homered and is hitting .326 with 16 homers but little else has gone right for a team who is hitting .233 and averaging 3.8 runs per game.

The Orioles are trying to figure it out and manager Buck Showalter dropped Trey Mancini to sixth Monday, held him out of the starting lineup Tuesday while moving Jonathan Schoop to leadoff.

Mancini is in a 6-for-51 slide while Schoop is batting .236.

“Frustration is a part of this game. It’s a little more frustrating than it has been, but as a professional I won’t let that just bring me down,” center fielder Adam Jones told reporters. “It’s obviously a results-based business. People only care about the results, but the effort is there, and all the players can control is the effort. Once the ball is hit, it’s out of our control.”

Max Scherzer will attempt to keep the good times rolling for a Washington pitching staff whose starters have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 27 of the last 28 games.

Scherzer is on a seven-game winning streak after allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings during a 9-5 victory at Miami on Friday. He was unable to hold a pair of two-run leads.

“Look mistakes happen,” Scherzer told reporters. “I’m human. The younger version of me would be one to throw a cooler across the room.”

Scherzer is 8-1 with a 2.13 ERA and 108 strikeouts are one behind Houston’s Gerrit Cole for the most in the majors.

Scherzer is 5-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 10 career starts against the Orioles. He is also 2-0 with a 3.68 ERA in five starts in Baltimore.

While Jones is 13-for-29 with four home runs versus Scherzer, the right-hander has dominated Machado. He is 1-for-22 with 11 strikeouts against Scherzer.

Baltimore will counter with rookie David Hess, who is 2-1 with a 4.15 ERA in his first three career starts. Hess recorded Baltimore’s last win when he allowed four hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 2-0 victory at Tampa Bay on Friday.

Hess will be making his second home start. He also allowed three runs and six hits in six innings on May 12 against Tampa Bay.

Washington has won five of the last seven meetings with Baltimore.