Yankees vs. Nationals Preview For 7/26/2020

Yanks look to close out road trip as 1.5 run favorites over the Nats

Through two games, the regular-season series between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals is now tied at one game a-piece following yesterday’s shellacking. This will be the final game of the season between the Nats and the Yanks. After today, the only time these teams will see each other again this season would be if they faced off against each other in the World Series.

As opposed to the first game of this season series, yesterday’s contest went the full nine innings. The Opening Day game between New York and Washington was canceled in the sixth inning due to inclement weather. The Nationals took the Yanks to the shed, shelling them for nine runs on their way to a 9-2 victory, their first win of the season.

The pitching was the clear difference in this one. The Nationals were able to win this one with ease even though starter Stephen Strasburg was scratched before the game. The Nats used five pitchers to get through the game. Erick Fedde started the game for Washington and did surrender two runs in the first four innings. However, the Nats went to their bullpen after that and were able to hold the Yankees scoreless through the final five innings of the game.

Now, I am not a person who gets a full-head when he gets a prediction right. However, I do feel an emphatic “I told ya so” is in order when looking at James Paxton’s performance in yesterday’s contest. I said in my preview, “… I don’t have faith in James Paxton to limit the Nationals…” Well apparently, the Yankees did not have faith in Paxton either. He was pulled after giving up two runs in the second inning. His replacement didn’t do much better, allowing the Nats to score one more run before finishing the inning down 3-0.

After Paxton’s exit, the game ended up being close for a while. Despite being down by three runs, the Yanks managed to claw their way back into it to make the game interesting. An RBI from DJ LeMahieu and a solo Home Run from Giancarlo Stanton put the Yanks back in the game, down just one run to Washington in the fourth inning. Unfortunately, that would be all the scoring the Yankees would manage for the evening. Meanwhile, the Nationals finished the game by scoring six more runs for the eventual 9-2 victory.

Let’s look ahead to this afternoon. As I mentioned before, this is the final game of the regular season series between these squads. Patrick Corbin will get the start for Washington while Jonathan Loaisiga gets the nod for the Bronx Bombers. It’s going to be fascinating to see how Corbin, a New York native, handles his second career start against the Yanks. Although, I am worried about him because he has not made a start against the Yanks since 2013.

The Yankees are expected to go to their bullpen earlier in this game with Loaisiga on the mound. I’m sure the team has faith in Loaisiga to give them a couple good innings, but I feel that bringing in a series of fresh arms to keep the Nats on their toes is the best way to win this game. Just look at how well Washington did yesterday using five different pitchers.

Even though the series is tied, I think it is the Yankees’ game to lose. Top to bottom, the Yanks have a lineup of guys that can get on base or go yard any time they step up to the plate. In fact, I know we are not even three games into the season yet, but Giancarlo Stanton looks like an early favorite to win AL MVP. He has four hits for two home runs and four RBIs in just six at-bats. Furthermore, in an abbreviated season, this guy can be the best player in baseball if he can stay healthy for just 60 games, a much easier task than staying healthy for 162 games.

The Yankees are favored by 1.5 runs in today’s game, but I don’t think they’ll be able to cover that spread. I am confident in the Yanks to win. They have a better lineup than the Nationals, and I feel like going to the bullpen early may be the move to give them a slight edge over the Nationals. However, both teams will be able to score some runs. In the end, New York will win the game, but it will only be by one.

Yankees 4 – Nationals 3

Yankees vs. Nationals Preview For 7/25/2020

Yanks look for their second straight win as 1.5 run favorites over the Nationals

The New York Yankees came away with the first win of the 2020 Major League Baseball season yesterday after they trounced the Washington Nationals by a final score of 4-1. Nats’ ace Max Scherzer was shelled for four runs in a little over five innings pitched, but he did manage to strikeout 11 Yankees’ batters. On the other side, Gerritt Cole was excellent in his first start in pinstripes, holding the Nationals to one hit in five innings. The game was eventually canceled after five innings due to inclement weather.

At the end of the day, the difference in this one was the experienced bats of the New York Yankees. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton both recorded multiple hits in the game. Stanton had the swing of the game, launching a Home Run 459 feet to give the Yanks a 2-0 early lead that they never looked back from. When all was said and done, Stanton and Judge combined for four hits and four RBIs yesterday.

The interesting headlines surrounding baseball started rolling in before the game started. Just hours prior to the game’s first pitch, Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo revealed that Outfielder Juan Soto tested positive for COVID-19 and would have to miss the season opener. Rizzo said that Soto is asymptomatic at this time. The star outfielder will need to record two negative tests before he can return to the field.

The Nationals definitely could have used Juan Soto’s services yesterday. The defending World Series champs were held to just one hit in 16 at-bats. Juan Soto probably could have made a difference in the game. He had the third-highest batting average of all Nationals’ players in the playoffs and the fourth-highest batting average of all Washington players during the 2019 Regular Season.

After watching the game last night, I realized something almost immediately. This is going to be a rough start for Major League Baseball pitchers. We are in unprecedented times. This Major League Baseball season is completely different than any other in the sport’s history. Sure, pitchers have had a few days to warm up and practice, but they have not seen any real opportunity to throw meaningful pitches in quite some time.

This realization became clear in the first inning of the game. Max Scherzer is a surefire Hall of Fame pitcher, but even he looked a little jumpy out there. He settled down after the Stanton homer, but he still allowed two more runs in the game for four total and an eventual loss. This is a bad start for Max Scherzer, a player who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for the last five to ten years and has done things statistically that few people on the planet Earth have done. If Max Scherzer is going to struggle, what hope is there for the other guys further down the rotation that are not as talented?

Here’s what I’m trying to say: I believe the delayed start to the MLB season will negatively affect pitchers. Batters are always ready to hit, but Pitchers are not always ready to throw their best stuff (that’s why they throw warmup pitches in the bullpen). Pitchers will eventually find their footing, but they will have to do it quickly. In an abbreviated, 60-game season, teams do not have time to let pitchers try and work through their struggles or growing pains. Thankfully for the Yankees, there was nothing but smooth sailing last night for Gerritt Cole

Now let us look ahead to the second game of the three-game home-stand the Nats have against the Yankees. The Nationals will be sending out the 2019 World Series co-MVP, Stephen Strasburg, who had one of the most impressive postseason pitching runs in recent history. Meanwhile, the Yankees will be sending James Paxton to the mound as he begins his second season with New York.

In terms of pitching matchup, I don’t think this one is close. Stephen Strasburg is leaps and bounds better than James Paxton. Strasburg went 5-0 in the playoffs last year with a 1.98 ERA. As for Paxton, he had a 3.82 ERA in 29 starts in 2019. The pitching matchup favors the Washington Nationals in this game.

I think this is Washington’s game to lose. It will be much easier for the Nationals to get hits off James Paxton as opposed to Gerritt Cole. Even if the Nats record only two hits tomorrow, that is still a 100% increase in the number of hits when compared to the Opening Day Game. The Yanks’ bats will show up, but I don’t have faith in James Paxton to limit the Nationals, even without Juan Soto. Nationals win and cover the spread.

Nationals 5 – Yankees 4

Yankees vs. Nationals Preview For 7/23/2020

The season starts off in DC where the Yanks are favored by 1.5

Well, it’s almost three months later than originally scheduled, but Opening Day is finally upon us. After months of uncertainty and negotiations with the Players’ Union, Major League Baseball will begin its 2020 season tomorrow at 7:00 PM EST when the New York Yankees take on the Washington Nationals, and boy, are we in for a treat!

Yankees vs. Nationals is the perfect matchup to get Opening Day off on the right foot. On one hand, you have the New York Yankees. Not only are the Yanks the most popular team in the history of the sport, but you could make the case that the Yankees are the most famous professional sports team in the world. On the other side, you have the defending champion Washington Nationals who head into this season looking to defend their 2019 World Series victory.

On top of everything, this is an interleague game in an abbreviated season, so we have to enjoy this match-up while we can because we may not see it again for a long time. Who knows, this game may even be a preview of the 2020 World Series.

The Yankees come into this year as one of the favorites to win the World Series. FanDuel gives the Yanks the second-best odds to win the 2020 World Series (+400), right behind the LA Dodgers who are +380. After posting back-to-back 100-plus-win seasons, New York seemed so destined for the World Series, but the Yanks would end up falling just a bit short both times.

The Pinstripes believed that they were one good player away from finally making it to their first World Series since 2009. That’s where Gerrit Cole comes in. This off-season the 29-year-old Pitcher signed a nine-year, $324 million contract with the Bronx Bombers to become the team’s new ace. Cole is expected to be the catalyst that pushes the Yanks over the top to be the great team they want to be.

Up until this season, it always seemed that the Yankees didn’t have enough good pitchers to carry them to a championship. After the Cole signing though, you look at New York and realize they have the bullpen and starting rotation to give any team in the MLB fits, especially once Luis Severino returns from injury. If Gerrit Cole can be as effective for New York as he was for Houston, then the Yankees will have no problem being the best team in the American League.

The Nationals are looking to get 2020 off to a good start with a win. Max Scherzer will be on the mound for the Nats, so Washington should feel confident that they will be able to control New York’s bats for the first few innings of the game. In fact, the Yankees’ expected opening day roster has had its struggles against Max Scherzer in the past. MLB.com only listed four players on the Yankees that had an at-bat against Scherzer: Brett Gardner, Giancarlo Stanton, Luke Voit, and Chris Iannetta.

Those four players combined for just six hits in 25 at-bats against Scherzer. New York’s unfamiliarity with Max Scherzer gives Washington a slight advantage in the pitching department. I would be surprised if the Yanks manage to score more than one run in the first five innings of the game.

While fans may be more attracted to the Yankees’ Home Runs and big names, you can’t disregard the Nats’ effective bats. The Nationals finished the 2019 regular season with the fifth-highest batting average in the league at .265, right behind the Yankees. Meanwhile, when the 2019 playoffs came around, the Nats finished with the Athletics tied for the highest batting average of any team in the postseason.

Thankfully for Washington, the team was able to retain most of their players from last season, so you can be sure that they’ll be racking up the hits again this year. Plus, many players on the Nationals have faced off against Gerrit Cole before. Seven players in Washington’s projected starting lineup have recorded at least two at-bats against Gerrit Cole in their career. Furthermore, Cole surrendered two Home Runs and 11 RBIs to those seven Washington batters. Gerrit Cole will be a difference-maker for the Yankees this season, but that does not guarantee that his first game in pinstripes will go smoothly.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Matt, you’re an excellent writer, but we just want to know what your prediction is already!” Well, here’s the way I see things playing out. I think both starting pitchers are going to go six to seven innings, but the game will probably be tied up at that point either 1-1 or 2-2. When the teams go to the relievers, that’s when I feel like the Yankees are going to starting pulling away with the win.

It’s too hard to look up and down at the Yanks’ opening day roster and think they are going to be held to less than three runs. Washington will not be able to cover the spread, and the Yankees emerge from this one with the first win of the 2020 season.

Yankees 4 – Nationals 2

Coronavirus Update For 7/21/2020

Here is the latest information we have to date regarding sports and COVID-19

NFL

League Offers Zero Preseason Games In Latest Proposal

It looks like the NFL will jump right into the Regular Season this year. The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting that the NFL has sent a proposal to the players’ union that features zero preseason games in 2020. This news comes after Training Camps began this week.

The NFL preseason usually lasts four weeks and has every team participate in four games. The league originally proposed playing two preseason games, but the players pushed for zero games. The first game of the preseason, the NFL Hall of Fame Game, has already been canceled this year.

League Lays Out Protocols For COVID-19 Testing

The National Football League now has a plan in place to test for and contain the potential spread of COVID-19 this season. In a conference call yesterday, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer said that the league will test all players every day for the first two weeks of Training Camps. Players will also need more than one negative test result to enter team facilities. The protocols were agreed upon by the NFL and the players’ union yesterday.

The protocols also state that after two weeks, the rate of positive tests will be examined. If this rate is below five percent, the league will move testing to every other day. Veterans are scheduled to report to Training Camps on July 28th.

NBA

League Reports Zero Positive COVID-19 Tests

It looks like the NBA has the Coronavirus Pandemic under control. Yesterday, the league officially announced that zero players out of 346 have tested positive for COVID-19 since July 13th. The league is saying that if a player does end up recording a positive test on the NBA campus in Orlando, then that individual will have to self-isolate until he has been cleared by league protocols.

NHL

Only Two Positive Coronavirus Tests Since Camp Opened

The NHL has some good news about their most recent round of COVID-19 testing. Yesterday, the National Hockey League announced that only two players have tested positive for the Coronavirus since camps opened on July 13th. The identities of the two players have not been revealed as per NHLPA policy.

In a statement, the league said that it completed the first five days of Phase Three testing from July 13th to July 17th. The statement also explained that 2,618 tests were administered to over 800 players, but only two players tested positive for the disease. At this time, both players are self-isolating. There is no clear timeline as to when the unnamed individuals will be able to return to practice.

MLB

Dr. Fauci To Throw Out First Pitch At Nationals’ Home Opener

The reigning World Series Champions will have a very special guest at their home opener. Yesterday, the Washington Nationals announced that Dr. Anthony Fauci will throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the team’s home opening game against the New York Yankees. The Nats and the Yankees are scheduled to face off Thursday night.

“Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season…”

Washington Nationals’ Statement on Dr. Anthony Fauci

Continue checking oddsusa.com for more updates on the Coronavirus Pandemic.