Yankees aim to halt their 8th consecutive loss as they take on Nationals

New York Yankees Aaron Judge walks back to the dugout after striking out against the Cleveland Guardians during the third inning of Game 1 of an American League Division baseball series, Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Amanda Paula
Tuesday August 22, 2023

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As the baseball season barrels towards its climax, an interleague matchup between two struggling teams promises to inject some fiery competition into the mix. On Tuesday night, the 22nd of August, the New York Yankees (60-64) will play host to the Washington Nationals (57-68) at the storied Yankee Stadium. Both teams find themselves residing at the depths of their respective divisions, but the allure of a wild card spot keeps the spark of hope alive.

For the New York Yankees, the past two weeks have been tumultuous. Suffering defeats in four consecutive series, against formidable opponents like the Chicago White Sox, Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, and Boston Red Sox, has left the Yankees reeling. Only managing to notch two wins while suffering a staggering ten losses, they find themselves languishing 9.5 games behind the last AL wild-card spot. The Yankees’ batting average has dipped to .230, ranking 29th in the league, and their on-base percentage stands at .305 (26th).

Nationals’ ascension

On the other side of the diamond, the Washington Nationals are riding a more positive wave. Securing victory in three consecutive series, they’ve been on an upward trajectory since the All-Star break. A resurgence that has seen them win seven out of eleven series and climb the NL East standings. Their offense has played a pivotal role in this resurgence, boasting a .260 batting average (4th) and a .320 on-base percentage (15th).

Pitching duels on the horizon

The New York Yankees star, Carlos Rodon
USA Today Sports

Heading into the series opener, the pitching matchups are crucial points of interest. The Yankees will hand the ball to Carlos Rodón, who is set to make his return to the mound after nursing a minor hamstring strain. Rodón, with a record of 1 win and 4 losses, will be facing a Nationals team with a dismal 0-2 road record and a concerning 9.64 ERA in away games. The effectiveness of Rodón’s pitching arsenal, particularly his 4-seamer, will play a pivotal role in containing the Nationals’ hitters.

Josiah Gray, the Nationals’ young right-handed pitcher, will kick off the series for his team. While Gray’s first half performance earned him a spot in the All-Star game, his second half has been less impressive, with a 1-3 record and a 5.83 ERA. In his last three starts, Gray’s ERA ballooned to 11.12, signaling a potential vulnerability that the Yankees’ batters could exploit.

Battle of arms

The second game will feature a tantalizing battle between Luis Severino and MacKenzie Gore. Severino’s season has been marked by inconsistency, with flashes of brilliance interspersed with bouts of struggle. On the other hand, Gore’s second season in the big leagues has shown promise, with a record of 6-9 and an ERA of 4.38. Both pitchers heavily rely on their 4-seamers, but Gore’s recent form may give him the edge in this contest.

For the series finale, the Nationals are set to start the veteran left-hander Patrick Corbin. Although Corbin has faced the Yankees three times in his career, his quality starts against them haven’t translated into wins. His recent form has been solid, with a 1-0 record and a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts. However, his high hard-hit ball frequency could be exploited by the Yankees’ power hitters.

Key players in the spotlight

Amidst the individual matchups, the performances of key players will undoubtedly sway the series’ outcome. Nationals’ Lane Thomas, Joey Meneses, Stone Garrett, and Keibert Ruiz have emerged as offensive stalwarts, while Yankees’ Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton, and DJ LeMahieu will aim to counter with their own firepower.

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