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Series Preview Q&A: Talking Washington Nationals vs New York Yankees

We talked to Neil Keefe from the New York sports site Keefe to the City about the upcoming two-game set between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium which starts tonight with Max Scherzer on the hill in the Bronx.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Tonight in Yankee Stadium, the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees start a two-game set a few weeks after the Nats took two straight from NY in the nation's capital.

The Yankees are coming off back-to-back series sweeps of the Seattle Mariners and LA Angels and the Nationals are coming off a 2-5 homestand.

We talked to Neil Keefe of the New York sports site "Keefe to the City" about the upcoming series. We talked to Neil before the series in D.C. a few weeks back and were happy to do so again...

Neil Keefe: The Yankees will face Max Scherzer on Tuesday night because the Yankees never seem to be able to dodge their opponent's ace in any series. Whether it's Scherzer or David Price or Sonny Gray or Felix Hernandez, the Yankees never seem to get any back end of a rotation.

Scherzer enters the game with a 1.85 ERA, allowing more than two earned runs in a start just twice in 11 starts this seasons, but somehow has lost four of his 11 starts because of a lack of run support.

Has Max Scherzer exceeded your expectations?

Federal Baseball (FBB): We all knew Max Scherzer was going to be good, but he seems to have adjusted to the Nationals league fairly well thus far. What I didn't expect, having not watched him as often as I probably should have while he was in the AL, was just how fiery a competitor he is on the mound. Not in a way that shows up opposing teams, but just really an ultra-competitive streak and an ability to maintain his stuff throughout his starts, hitting 95-96-97 even late in his outings after sitting 92-93-94 throughout the game.

But he's in a three-way tie for highest fWAR so far this season (+2.8), the 1.85 ERA in fifth lowest in the majors so far, and that's after he gave up four earned runs last time out. He has a .201 BAA. More importantly, and less noticeably, he's also working with and helping the other pitchers on the staff, with Gio Gonzalez, among others talking about how he's picked things up from Scherzer already this season. So, yeah, I'd say he's exceeded expecations, which is even more impressive considering how high they were when he signed that $210M deal.

Neil Keefe: The last time we talked, I joked about Bryce Harper becoming a Yankee someday. Well, I actually wasn't really joking since I do hope and plan on Harper becoming a Yankee when he is finally a free agent.

Harper has continued to rake this season and become the early-season NL MVP favorite hitting .326/.464/.706 with 19 home runs and 46 RBIs. He showed his power against the Yankees in the first inning of their four-run comeback against Nathan Eovaldi back on May 19.

So once again, how fun is it to see Harper becoming the best hitter in the game in what is looking like an MVP season?

FBB: I wouldn't go fitting Harper for pinstripes just yet. Though he's a Scott Boras client and there is the history of his clients going to free agency, there's just as much anecdotal evidence right now that Harper likes the idea of spending an entire career with one team. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo, who scouted, drafted, and oversaw his development from a very young age, has talked often about the "special relationship" the two of them have and I wouldn't be surprised to see a Stanton-esque contract discussed at some point in the future provided Harper can stay healthy and continue to do what he's been doing this season, because right now he looks every bit like the sort of once-in-a-generation-type talent he was hyped up to be when he was growing up.

Check out the full exchange about the two-game set that starts tonight through the link below: