The Bronx Bombers enter their series against the Nationals with a slim half-game lead over the Boston Red Sox in the division race after winning 8 of their last 10 games. The Nationals enter their series against the Yankees currently tied for the NL East lead and will be looking to keep pace in a heated division race that sports three teams at least three games above-.500 or better.
Daniel Murphy could make season debut for Nats
Washington has not yet announced a spot starter for this one, but it is believed that Erick Fedde will be taking the mound for them in the second game of their mini-series at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Fedde last pitched Friday, which conveniently puts him on turn to step in for right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who was placed on the 10-day DL with right shoulder inflammation on Sunday. Fedde made a spot start for the Nats last month, allowing three runs in 5 ⅔ innings of work, but he could get at least a couple of turns in place of Strasburg this time around. The Nationals’ ace is pegged to miss multiple starts.
The Nationals are hoping to have slugger Daniel Murphy back in the lineup against New York. The team will be playing five consecutive games in American League ballparks, where they will need a designated hitter, which will give Murphy a chance to be eased back into game action after missing the first two-and-a-half months of the MLB season. Murphy rejoined the team on Sunday, taking batting practice and fielding grounders. He finished second in the NL batting title in each of the past two seasons and is coming off of a season in which he hit .322 with 23 home runs and a .927 OPS.
Gray turning season around for Yankees
The Yankees are slated to counter with right-hander Sonny Gray, who has turned his season around in a hurry over his last four starts. Gray has allowed one earned run or less in three of those four outings, while completing eight innings or more in two of those starts. He is fresh off of his best outing of the year on the road against the Blue Jays in which he tossed eight scoreless innings of two-hit ball, while scattering two walks and striking out eight batters on the night. Despite his best efforts, Gray was rendered with a no-decision in a 3-0 win. The Yankees’ right-hander enters their series against the Nationals with a 4-4 record to go along with a 4.81 ERA in 12 starts this year.
According to Baseball Savant, the current Nationals’ lineup owns a .217 batting average in 28 plate appearances against Gray. They come in with an expected weighted on-base percentage of .348 and an expected slugging percentage of .444 against him heading into Wednesday’s matchup.
The Yankees enter their series against the Nationals with the second-most home runs in the major leagues of the past week. New York has launched 13 home runs during that span, which has helped them put runs on the board consistently despite batting just .197 as a team during that span.
- Nationals are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- Nationals are 11-3 in their last 14 road games.
- Yankees are 2-7 in Gray’s last 9 starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance.
- Yankees are 1-4 in Gray’s last 5 starts vs. a team with a winning record.
Over his last eight starts, Gray has lowered his ERA from 8.27 to 4.81, but the Nationals will be happy to welcome back infielder Daniel Murphy back to the lineup. Washington has scored 27 runs over the team’s past five games, while batting .252/.322/.362 as a team during that span. Murphy should provide some added pop to the Nats lineup, along with some much-needed protection for superstar slugger Bryce Harper, making their offense much more dangerous. Take Washington to come away victorious in the second game of their interleague series on the road at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
Pick: Washington Nationals
It’s hard not to take a good look at the over here. While Gray has been pitching well on the mound as of late, he’s been largely inconsistent on the mound this season and will be up against a Nationals lineup that is likely to have slugger Daniel Murphy back in action. Washington has been very good on the road this season and the over has hit in 8 of Gray’s last 9 starts at Yankee Stadium. Look for that trend to continue and take the over in this interleague battle between two potential playoff teams.
- Over is 4-1 in Yankees last 5 interleague home games.
- Over is 14-5 in Yankees last 19 during game 2 of a series.