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Orioles on deck: Series of roster moves, plus what to watch Tuesday at Nationals

Orioles (20-50) vs. Nationals (38-32)

Where: Nationals Park, Washington

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First pitch: 7:05 p.m.

TV/Radio: MASN2/105.7 The Fan

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Starting pitchers: Orioles RHP David Hess (2-3, 4.13 ERA) vs. Nationals RHP Jefry Rodríguez (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Orioles call up Caleb Joseph, select Wilkerson, DFA Álvarez

Before Tuesday’s game, the Orioles made a series of roster moves. They officially called up catcher Caleb Joseph after optioning catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. They also selected the contract of utility man Steve Wilkerson from Norfolk and designated Pedro Álvarez for assignment to make room.

Joseph, 32, has played 24 games with the Orioles this season, but was sent down after batting .182/.203/.325 with seven extra-base hits and three RBIs. He had also caught just four of 19 attempted base stealers. He improved in both areas with the Tides, batting .273/.340/.364 with four extra-base hits and 14 RBIs in 24 games. He also caught six of 13 attempted base stealers.

Wilkerson, 26, comes to the majors for the first time after emerging as one of the Orioles’ best utility prospects in recent years. He was suspended the first 50 games this season after testing positive for the stimulant amphetamine, but has had a hot bat since returning. He hit .290/.362/.500 with four doubles, three homers and nine RBIs in 16 games with Norfolk. He has also played five positions during that time — second base (eight starts), third base (two starts), shortstop (two starts), left field (three starts) and right field (one start).

The left-handed-hitting Álvarez, 31, made the team out of spring training, but has fallen off since a solid start. Since batting .320/.485/.640 in his first 13 games, he’s hitting .140/.213/.349 over his past 32. Álvarez hit eight homers with 18 RBIs in 45 games with the Orioles this season.

A slowdown in the schedule could give Orioles players a chance to recognize how things got out of control so quickly and gain some perspective on where they are.

What to watch

1. The right time? The Orioles have been struggling no matter who they play this season, but just ended a season-long nine-game losing streak Sunday. The Nationals join them in misery, having lost four straight (their 5-3 win over the Yankees in Monday’s continuation of a May 15 suspended game notwithstanding) of and six of seven to fall from first place in the National League East to 3½ games out.

2. All-rookie matchup. David Hess makes his seventh start this season, and second against the Nationals. He’ll be looking to rebound from his second rough outing (five runs in 3 1/3 innings), both of which have come against the Boston Red Sox. He has quality starts in each of his other four games, having held the Nats to one run on four hits in six innings in a loss May 30. Jefry Rodríguez will be making his second career appearance and first start for the Nats. He pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief in his major league debut June 3.

3. Signs of a breakout. Over his past five games, Jonathan Schoop has shown some signs of getting back to what made his 2017 season such a success. Schoop is batting .212/.261/.365 overall with just 11 walks and 17 extra-base hits in 50 games this season. He might have only three hits in 15 at-bats during those five games — but he has five walks and two extra-base hits. If that continues, his season totals should begin trending up after a rough start to the year.

Orioles lineup

RF Jace Peterson

CF Adam Jones

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SS Manny Machado

1B Mark Trumbo

2B Jonathan Schoop

3B Danny Valencia

LF Trey Mancini

C Caleb Joseph

P David Hess

Nationals lineup

RF Adam Eaton

LF Juan Soto

3B Anthony Rendon

CF Bryce Harper

1B Daniel Murphy

SS Trea Turner

2B Wilmer Difo

C Spencer Kieboom

P Jefry Rodríguez

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