The Orioles have dealt with plenty of top-notch starting pitching during this series with the Nationals -- Stephen Strasburg on Monday, Doug Fister on Wednesday -- and it won't let up in the finale on Thursday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Baltimore will have to deal with Gio Gonzalez and his scoreless streak that reached 22 innings his last start.
Since a rough outing against the Astros on June 18, when he allowed four earned runs in five innings during his first start off the disabled list, Gonzalez (6-4) tossed shutout innings of six, seven and eight innings in his three starts since. His ERA has dropped all the way to 3.52 from a season-worst 4.85 after the Houston game.
"I feel like the team is getting me there," Gonzalez said of his recovery from a shoulder injury after his last start, a blowout win against the Cubs. "You start pulling your comfort zone."
During Gonzalez's three-game winning streak he has struck out 19 batters, and in his last two starts he's walked just three. The O's will counter with Wei-Yin Chen, who is 8-3 with a 4.12 ERA.
Baltimore has struggled with Washington's starting pitching during this series. Strasburg held the Orioles to two runs in seven innings on Monday, and Fister matched him on Wednesday. As much fun as the Battle of the Beltways can be, O's manager Buck Showalter is glad he doesn't have many games left against the Nats.
"I don't want to play them two more times," Showalter said.
Orioles: Baltimore sets rotation until All-Star break
Showalter would have liked to see Bud Norris get two starts before the All-Star break, but because of Tuesday's rainout that won't be an option.
The Orioles had already opted to flip Chen and Miguel Gonzalez's places in the rotation, and they will finish out the first half with starts by Ubaldo Jimenez on Saturday and Chris Tillman on Sunday.
Showalter, however, did not rule out Norris as a possibility for an inning or two out of the bullpen during the weekend.
"If he gets shortened a little bit tonight," Showalter said on Wednesday, "we could bring him back on three and get an inning or two on Sunday. Hopefully we don't have that issue."
Nationals: Rendon in need of Final Vote push
Anthony Rendon still has one more day to pick up some votes to become a member of the National League All-Star team.
The infielder, who has started at both second and third base this season, currently sits in fourth place in the Final Vote standings behind Anthony Rizzo, Justin Morneau and Justin Upton, and he's ahead of Casey McGehee. Thursday is his chance to make a push.
Every tweet between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET that includes the hashtag #VoteRendon will count as a vote for the 24-year-old.
"In this day and age, it seems like young players have a lot to say," Washington outfielder Jayson Werth said. "They are concerned about visibility, marketability and all the things -- as a young player -- we were kind of taught not to be concerned about. And Tony goes about his business, keeps his mouth shut, plays the game the right way."
Rendon is batting .284 with 13 home runs and an .831 OPS this season.
• The Battle of the Beltways won't end on Thursday -- a makeup for Tuesday's rainout in Washington will be played at 7:05 ET on Aug. 4.
• With a 3-for-4 day on Wednesday, Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado is 8-for-10 in this series and 15-for-26 in his career against the Nats.
• The Nationals' three-homer game on Wednesday was their first since May 31.
Dave Wilson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.