The Yankees head to the nation's capital on the back of a 2-1 series win over the Oakland Athletics. Sunday saw them win 6-2 on the back of a strong start by Luis Severino and the red-hot bat of Giancarlo Stanton. The 2017 NL MVP went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBI to keep the scoreboard moving, while Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Miguel Andujar also has multi-hit days.
Washington didn't have the hottest start, but they have gone 11-2 in the month of May, including a four-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sunday saw them win 6-4 thanks to the debuting Mark Reynolds mashing a pair of homers and a solid start from Jeremy Hellickson. Reynolds wasn't the only man to go deep, with Bryce Harper and Trea Turner adding a bomb each, but Reynolds tallied three RBI and three hits while Hellickson went five innings before handing over the lead to the bullpen. Brandon Kintzler blew the lead, but Reynolds' second blast put then Nats over the top.
Masahiro Tanaka (RHP) Vs. Gio Gonzalez (LHP)
Tanaka has had a very up and down season. Two good starts are usually followed up by two shaky ones. By that pattern today's would be one of his good ones, but against a lineup like Washington that may not be happening.
The Japanese star comes into today with a 4.66 ERA and a lower-than-ideal 8.7 K/9. While his walk rate has dipped from last year he is still allowing too many homers and is only averaging 5.2 innings per start.
Gio Gonzalez, conversely, has been very strong this year. A 2.22 ERA and 10.1 K/9 have kept fantasy owners and fans happy, but there are some holes in his game. He is allowing a lot of hits and walks, with the saving grace that they have not clustered together to spoil any particular start. He has given up just one homer, but if he keeps allowing hitters to reach first base then eventually it will catch up with him.
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Who's hot, and who's not
After a bad April, Giancarlo Stanton has come alive in May. He's hitting .310 this month with five homers, four doubles, and 11 RBI. Fellow slugger Aaron Judge has also been in strong form in the last two weeks, mashing five homers and hitting .298.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, Didi Gregorius' hot start has quickly faded. The shortstop is hitting just .115 in the past 15 days, while Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez are also under the Mendoza line.
Washington's lineup has been fueled in recent weeks by Trea Turner and Matt Adams. The shortstop has four homers and a .292 average in May, while Adams has hammered out seven bombs as well as a .286 average. It has helped make up for Bryce Harper's struggles. The star is hitting just .208, though he does have five homers.
This is a tough one. The Yankees outfield monsters are roaring at the moment, but they are facing a pitcher who simply does not leave the ball up. Gonzalez is so good at preventing homers that it could stymie the entire Yankees offense.
Tanaka's form is tenuous enough that the Nationals could well rack up the runs, but the Nats bullpen is so inconsistent that they may not be able to hold whatever lead Gonzalez can hand them. These two teams are the hottest in baseball, so I'll take the home team and cross my fingers.
The game will be broadcast live on YES and MASN, as well as streamed live on MLB.tv for out of market subscribers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm ET.