New York Yankees vs Washington Nationals (by David Hess)
Play ball!!! Finally, the 2020 MLB season is getting underway. Tonight the season will begin with a game between two teams that could very well meet in the World Series as the New York Yankees travel to Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The game has a start time of 7:08 pm ET and will be televised on ESPN. Dr. Anthony Fauci will be throwing out the first pitch.
Pitching Probables: Gerrit Cole (20-5, 2.50 ERA Last Year) vs Max Scherzer (11-7, 2.92 ERA).
The Yankees Are Primed To have A Solid Season
The MLB season will be just 60 games long and that means that teams without out a chance in a full 162-game schedule will have a better shot at being a surprise team. Still, the Yankees are not in that situation, and no matter how many games that are played this year, they are clearly the class of the American League East. They are also one of the favorites to represent the AL in the World Series this year. They have upgraded their pitching staff with the addition of Gerrit Cole, who I will get to in a moment while sporting one of the best offenses in the league. Aaron Judge is their big bobber, but they also have Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, and Gary Sanchez. There is not an easy out in their lineup and that makes them a dangerous team anytime they take the field. This will be a good test to see how the Yankees are prepared for the new season as they are taking on the defending World Series champs. The Yanks will be without Aroldis Chapman for this one and 2B DJ LeMahieu is questionable.
Taking the hill for the Yankees will be the aforementioned Gerrit Cole, who signed a huge contract with the team in the offseason. Last year, for the Houston Astros, he was 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA, including 8-3 with a 2.36 ERA on the road. He finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young Award voting. Cole is a three-time all-star and he won the ERA title last year. In his career, he has gone 49-29 with a 3.14 ERA on the road, 14-8 with a 2.49 ERA during the month of July, 16-6 with a 2.76 ERA in interleague play and 3-2 with a 2.92 ERA in six starts against the Nats, including 1-2 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts here at Nationals Park.
Last Season’s Stats & Rankings: The Yankees ranked 1st in scoring at 5.82 rpg, 4th in hitting at .267, and 2nd in homers with 306. On the mound, they ranked 14th in ERA at 4.31, 11th in WHIP at 1.30, and 20th in Quality Starts with 53.
The Nats Begin Defense Of Their World Series Title
The Washington Nationals have a huge target on their backs after winning the World Series a year ago. They have a solid team overall, but I feel they will come up just a bit short in the battle for the National League East. The Nats have a solid offense that will score some runs, but they will miss Anthony Rendon (LA Angels), who had 126 RBIs and 34 homers last year. That is a lot of missing offense and while Eric Thames had a solid season for the Brewers last year, he is not going to put up the numbers that Rendon had. Washington will also be missing Ryan Zimmerman, who is sitting out the year due to COVID-19 concerns. Still, the Nats have Trea Turner, who is one of the best all-around players in the league, Adam Eaton, Juan Soto, and Howie Kendrick. It’s not an explosive offense, but it will still be a very solid one. I just wonder if it will be good enough for them to win another world title.
The Nats were led by their pitching last year and it looks like it will be the same this year with Stephen Strasburg Patrick Corbin and Max Scherzer, who will get the nod in this one. Scherzer was 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA, including 4-5 with a 3.16 ERA at home. He was 3rd in the NL Cy Young voting. In his career, he has gone 85-43 with a 3.22 ERA in his home games overall, including 33-22 with a 2.96 ERa in 80 starts here at Nationals Park. he is also 28-13 with a 2.80 ERa in 53 starts during July, 18-15 with a 2.64 ERA in 39 interleague starts and 4-3 with a 4.04 ERA in seven starts against the Yankees.
Last Season’s Stats & Rankings: The Nats ranked 6th in scoring at 5.39 rpg, 6th in hitting at .265, and 13th in homers with 231. On the mound, they ranked 13th in ERA at 4.27, 8th in WHIP at 1.29, and 2nd in Quality Starts with 87.
I will be going with the Yankees in this one. They are the better overall team with the far better offense. The Yankees also have an edge on the mound with Gerrit Cole over max Scherzer. Cole could be the missing piece for the Yankees to win the Wolrd Series this year and he would love to get off to a strong start against the defending champs. The Nats do not have Anthony Rendon this year after he was their best offensive threat a year ago and that will make things easier for cole in this one. Scherzer has been a strong pitcher here at home but he does have a 4.04 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees and New York does have perhaps the best offense in the league. I will look for the Yankees to make a statement in this one. Prediction: New York -131