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New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals: Series preview

The Nationals come to town for a quick two-game stop.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Atlanta Braves Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and Nationals have unfinished business. Rain prevented these two teams from getting much baseball in earlier in the season, but now they look to square off at Yankee Stadium. Bryce Harper and the Nats will take the Bronx ahead of his highly anticipated free agency. It will be cool to get a look at home in New York, but even better to walk away with another series win.

Game One: CC Sabathia vs. Tanner Roark

For a little while, it looked like Sabathia had cratered. For nearly a month he struggled to pitch effectively or eat innings. That’s a bad combination or a team trying to make a run at the division. His last outing against the Blue Jays, however, proved just what the doctor ordered. The veteran left-hander held Toronto to two runs over seven innings, striking out six batters in the process. All told he has a 3.59 ERA (4.71 FIP). I’m all in on good CC.

Roark, for his part, has also pitched fairly well. He’s the owner of a 3.56 ERA with a 4.08 FIP. He doesn’t strike a ton of batters out (7.47 K/9), nor does he have an especially impressive groundball percentage (45.9%). He just goes about his business and does a fine enough job. Roark’s struggled over his last three starts though, pitching to a 5.54 ERA (5.64 FIP). He also saw a spike in his home run rate (1.38 HR/9) over this span. Now would be a good time for the Yankees to beat up on a slumping starter.

Game Two: Sonny Gray vs. TBA

As you know by now, I’m an unapologetic Gray fan. His last seven starts show why. He’s logged 42.2 innings of 3.38 ERA baseball in that span. Gray’s most recent outing against the Blue Jays was nothing short of dominant. He hurled eight innings of shutout ball, racking up eight strikeouts in the process. The right-hander does have severe home and road splits, though. At Yankee Stadium this year, Gray owns a 7.22 ERA. On the road, he’s managed a stingy 2.83 mark. Let’s hope he can carry that success into the Bronx.

The Nationals have yet to announce who will start in place of Stephen Strasburg, who hit the disabled list with shoulder inflammation over the weekend. Erick Fedde represents the logical option. The 25-year-old made one start this season, allowing three runs over 5.2 innings to the San Diego Padres. Fedde has prospect pedigree, but he’s no Strasburg.

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