Both the Orioles and Nationals have shown why they are among the top teams in their respective leagues, and the weekend draw was evidence that there is a lot of interest in the two clubs.
While runs have been hard to come by in this series -- the Nationals are outscoring the Orioles, 4-3, over the two games -- Sunday's finale has the potential to break that trend and see the bats finally come to life.
Washington's Ross Detwiler will be making his return to the rotation after flip-flopping roles with Chien-Ming Wang, whose return to starting didn't go well.
The left-handed Detwiler was impressive in his first stint in the rotation earlier in the season, compiling a 3.88 ERA over 48 2/3 innings. Detwiler did, however, get roughed up when he faced the Orioles earlier in the season, allowing a season-high nine hits and six runs in the loss.
Nationals manager Davey Johnson was impressed with Detwiler's results as a reliever, and thinks he's ready to make his mark in the rotation again after identifying what wasn't working for him before.
"His last two starts, it was kind of like pitching defensively, kind of not attacking the hitter," Johnson said. "I think staying in the bullpen, if anything, helped him."
Baltimore will counter with Jake Arrieta, who is showing signs of coming out of a prolonged rough stretch. Arrieta has lasted seven innings in back-to-back outings, and two starts ago won for the first time since May 2.
"He was outstanding, except for one pitch," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Arrieta's last start, referring to a grand slam he served up to Ike Davis of the Mets.
The 26-year-old Arrieta carries a 3-9 record and 5.83 ERA into Sunday's start against Washington. Arrieta turned in one of his strongest performances of the season when he faced the Nationals in May, pitching seven innings of one-run ball in the no-decision, while striking out nine and walking one.
Orioles: Moyer released
The Orioles granted left-hander Jamie Moyer his request for a release Saturday.
Moyer had the option to be released if his contract wasn't selected from Triple-A Norfolk -- where he agreed to showcase himself for three starts in an attempt to make Baltimore's 25-man roster -- and it wasn't, meaning Moyer is a free agent.
Over his three starts at Norfolk, Moyer went 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA.
The 49-year-old started the season with Colorado, going 2-5 with a 5.70 ERA and 1.73 WHIP before he was released.
"We just decided as an organization we were going to go with the other pitchers that we have here," said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. "We also have some depth in starting pitching at Triple-A."
Moyer, who missed the 2011 season following Tommy John surgery, is 269-209 with a 4.25 ERA.
Showalter is unsure how he will draw up the rotation following Monday's off-day, but does have a few different ways he could go.
Some of the options could include Triple-A arms Chris Tillman and Zach Britton, or current O's Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz.
"We think we got an idea, but something could change," Showalter said of the rotation.
Adam Jones blasted his 19th home run of the season and first since June 12 on Saturday.
Nationals: Zimmerman dealing with right shoulder issues
Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who went 0-for-4 on Saturday, might need another cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder -- or a second stint on the disabled list.
Zimmerman has struggled from the start of the year, was injured and placed on the disabled list at the end of April into May, and hasn't found his stroke since returning.
"It's just one of those things; it's frustrating because it feels fine when I throw, it feels fine when I play defense," Zimmerman said. "When I hit BP, it's OK. It just hasn't translated into the game, obviously."
In June, the former All-Star is batting just .167 with one homer and four RBIs.
Saturday marked one year since Jim Riggleman resigned as manager of the Nationals, which eventually led to Johnson taking over after 11 years away from the Majors.
Since becoming Washington's skipper, Johnson has led the Nationals to an 81-71 record.
"It feels like about a month or so," Johnson said when asked how long it feels like since he's been back as a manager. "When you're back in baseball, it doesn't leave you. You think about it year-round, offseason. One day runs into the other."
Saturday's loss dropped the Orioles to 10-4 at home against the Nationals since 2008.