The New York Yankees hope to keep their hold of first place in the AL East as they host the Washington Nationals Wednesday night. The game concludes a brief two-game series between the two teams. New York won Tuesday’s game 3-0.
Technically, the Yankees are tied with the Red Sox atop the AL East. However, the Bronx Bombers have somehow played six fewer games than Boston, giving them three fewer wins but also three fewer losses. With the way they’re playing lately, having six extra games left to play is a significant advantage, as the Yankees are 8-2 since the calendar flipped to June.
Meanwhile, the Nationals have fallen one game back of the Braves in the NL East. Washington was red hot toward the end of May, which allowed them to climb back toward the top of the division. However, the Nationals have lost three of their last four and have been shutout in their last two games, so they are desperate to get back on track with the NL East shaping up to be a tight, three-team race.
Gray Skies Clearing Up
Sonny Gray will make the start for the Yankees on Wednesday. Gray has largely struggled this season, but he’s performed much better in his last two starts. In those two starts, he’s allowed just one run on six hits over 14 innings, walking two and striking out 14. To be fair, those two starts came against the Blue Jays and Orioles. But it does indicate that Gray is capable of overpowering weak lineups.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the Nationals aren’t exactly clicking on all cylinders after being shutout in back-to-back games. Amidst a slew of injuries, Washington has become overly reliant on Bryce Harper and Matt Adams. Adam Eaton and Daniel Murphy have recently returned from the DL, but neither has gotten going just yet. Nationals hitters are also a combined 7 for 32 (.219) against Gray, so it could be another struggle for Washington at the plate.
Good Luck, Rookie
At the same time, the Nationals will look to rookie Erick Fedde to get the start Wednesday, as both Stephen Strasburg and Jeremy Hellickson are on the DL, creating vacancies in the team’s rotation. Fedde is Washington’s top pitching prospect, although his stock has fallen a bit over the past year. He made three uninspired starts last year and has made just one start this season. In that start, he gave up three runs over 5.2 innings against the Padres.
This time around, Fedde will have to face the Yankees and their vaunted lineup. Even with a few of New York’s heavy hitters going through slumps, most notably Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez, there are plenty of other threats up and down the batting order. Didi Gregorius may be heating up after two home runs on Tuesday. Brett Gardner and Miguel Andujar are also swinging a hot bat, while Aaron Judge remains a constant home run threat.
As You Were
With the Yankees on a bit of a hot streak and the Nationals on a downturn, there’s no reason to expect that to change on Wednesday. Even if the Nationals can do some damage against Gray, it’s doubtful Fedde will keep the Yankees under wraps. Triple-A hitters are batting .307 against Fedde this season, and now he’ll face the best lineup in baseball. Bet on the New York Yankees -150 over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.