Just like he did before the series with the Arizona Diamondbacks on the road in Chase Field in mid-May, Washington Nationals’ skipper Davey Martinez said the two-game set with the New York Yankees in the nation’s capital last month would test the Nats, who’d won 13 of 15 going into the matchup with the AL East’s division leaders.
Aaron Boone’s Yankees entered that series with wins in 19 of 22 games.
“In order to get to where you want to be, these are the teams you’ve got to beat,” Martinez explained. “I think we both match up really well, we really do. They’re a well-rounded team.
“They’ve got some thump in the lineup and they play pretty good defense. I’m looking forward to the matchup.”
The Nationals and Yankees played just five and a half innings that night before rain brought a halt to the proceedings with the score tied up at 3-3. It rained the next night too, and the two teams had to reschedule the postponed game and the second game of the two-game set, which is rescheduled for next week in Washington.
But tonight in Yankee Stadium, the division leaders in the AL and NL East divisions go at it again.
Boone’s squad is 24-9 since May 1st heading into the series, with Martinez’s Nationals 23-11 over that stretch, coming off a 3-2 homestand which saw them sweep a two-game set with Tampa Bay’s Rays before dropping two of three to the surging San Francisco Giants.
Now the Nats are back on the road, however, where they’re 21-11 this season, good for the best road record in the NL and third-best in the majors, tied with the Boston Red Sox behind only New York (20-10) and Houston (23-11).
The Yankees are 22-9 at home in the Bronx, the best home mark in the major leagues thus far this season with wins in 11 of their last 15 games at home in the House that Jeter built.
Martinez was asked during the Nats’ three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in Oriole Park at Camden Yards late last month what he thought was behind his team’s success on the road this season.
“Sleep,” he joked, before providing a more serious response.
“We’ve played some pretty good ballgames at home as well,” Martinez said. “We’ve played a lot of one-run games, but I love it when you play that well on the road.”
How will the Nationals’ young stars (like Juan Soto) respond to the bright lights of NYC? Will Bryce Harper face another barrage of (misguided?) future Yankee questions? Who’s going in tomorrow’s game for the Nats with only three starters currently available in the rotation? Is Daniel Murphy going to come off the DL to be the DH? We’ll get some answers tonight.