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Washington Nationals Series #19 Preview: Yankees Opposition Research

The Nats now head to New York City to take on a hot Yankees team. To prepare you for this series, here is a primer on the New York Yankees. Learn their strengths and weaknesses and take your job as armchair manager to new heights.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It has been nearly three weeks since the Nationals swept the Yankees in two games at Nationals Park.  The Nationals were riding high back then.  Now they have only won two of their past ten games and they have to face the Bronx Bombers on their home turf.  The Yankees just swept the Mariners and the Angels.  It is doubtful that the drafting of Mariano Rivera Jr. is going to put Yankee fans in a charitable mood either.  The Yankees have only won two more games than the Nats this year, but it definitely feels like D.C. is the underdog today.  Can the Nats rise to the occasion?

Tuesday, 7:05 pm - Max Scherzer vs Masahiro Tanaka
Tanaka spent all of May on the DL but came back as strong as ever, allowing 1 run in 7 IP against the Mariners.  Scherzer stumbled last time out, but he is still Scherzer.  It is an exciting matchup with a good chance of a pitching duel.  

Wednesday, 1:05 pm - Gio Gonzalez vs Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi allowed 5 runs when the Yankees visited D.C. but has put together strong starts in two of three games since then, improving his ERA slightly to 4.16.  Gio also has several strong starts recently, but continues to be inconsistent. If he can get through those early innings clean and do a better job keeping batters off the bases he does feel close to being back to his dominant self.  Many question marks surround this matchup, but it is expected to be a fun one regardless.

The Yankees Lineup

The Yankees lineup is missing the valuable table setter Jacoby Ellsbury who is out with a knee sprain.

CF - Brett Gardner
++ bat (lefty)
average glove
+ speed

With Ellsbury out, Gardner has taken over center field and leadoff duties, but his numbers have fallen a good bit over the past three weeks.  He now has a .355 OBP with 14 stolen bases.
n

3B - Chase Headley
average bat (switch)
-? glove

Headley has been batting well in recent weeks, earning him a move up the lineup.  He is now batting .253/.301/.386 and is riding an 8 game hitting streak.

n
DH - Alex Rodriguez
++ bat
+ power

A-Rod's season has improved since the last time he faced the Nats.  He is now batting .280/.386/.522 with 11 HR and is the most valuable hitter in the Yankees lineup.  He had an eleven game hitting streak recently, but cooled off a little this past week.

n

1B - Mark Teixeira
++ bat (switch)
++ power
- glove

Teixeira just hit three home runs in a week but his line is down a little to .237/.348/.565 (with 17 HR).  That's almost as many home runs as Bryce Harper.

n

C - Brian McCann
- bat
++ glove

McCann has heated up considerably in recent weeks, upping his HR total from 4 to 9 and raising his OBP to a more respectable .321.

n

RF - Carlos Beltran
- bat (switch)
-- glove

Beltran is still stinking it up at the plate with a .243/.277/.395 line.
n
SS - Didi Gregorius
-- bat (lefty)
+ glove
Gregorius has heated up a little with multi-hit games in four of his last seven starts.  His line is now up to 238/.294/.311 and he is no longer batting 9th.
n
2B - Stephen Drew
-- bat (lefty)
average glove

Drew has remained steady in his offensive output, now sports a .199/.271/.335 line.

n

LF - Ramon Flores
? bat
+ glove

The rookie Flores has struggled to fill Ellsbury's shoes.  Through eight games he is batting .182/.182/.227.

Ned

nd

The Yankees Bullpen

The Yankees bullpen ERA has increased from 2.62 ERA through 127 innings to 3.11 after 185 innings.

Lefty closer Andrew Miller has continued to be dominant.  He has allowed runs only twice this season, two runs vs the Nats and one run vs the Mariners a week ago.

Dellin Betances did finally give up an earned run four days ago, which bumped his ERA all the way up to 0.29.

Lefty Chasen Shreve has continued to put up strong numbers as well.

Can They Be Swept?

Erm, based on mathematical probability, one cannot rule out a sweep here.  This is a tough matchup and the Yankees have both the momentum and home field advantage.  The Nats do need to win these games to keep their chances for a 135 win season alive.  Time to go into the belly of the beast and eat some beast.

Never give up!  Never surrender!