|NYY (-116) @ pinnacle|
My 9* Weekend Wipeout is on the NY Yankees at 1:05 ET.
The Washington Nationals followed the franchise's first-ever World Series win in 2019 with a 26-34 record in 2020, finishing in last-place in the NL East. The Nats are again in last-place in the NL East at 13-15 but the good news is the division is MLB's weakest. No team had a winning record to open the current week and the Nats are just 2 1/2-games out of first place. The Phillies have won FIVE in a row to take over the top spot at 18-15. The NY Yankees made the postseason for the fourth straight time in 2020 but ONLY because of the expanded playoff field. They swept the Indians in the wild card round (2-0) but lost to the Rays in a deciding Game 5 in the ALDS. The Yankees are currently 16-16, fourth of five AL East teams.
Washington won the opener of this three-game series 11-4 on Friday, sparked by six-run eighth inning (included three errors by New York and a three-run HR by the Nats' Josh Harrison. Saturday's pitching matchup will feature three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer (2-2, 2.54 ERA) up against two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (2-2, 3.03 ERA), Scherzer won Cy Young's 2013, 2016 and 2017 but didn't get his first win of 2021 until his fourth start, He beat the Cards 1-0 on April 21 (6 IP / 9-1 KW ratio) but then gave up seven runs (five earned) in a 9-5 loss at Toronto. However, this past Sunday, he threw his 12th career complete game, allowing a run on five hits in a 3-1 home win over the Miami Marlins (9-0 KW ratio).
Kluber won 18 games three times and 20 games once, in a five-year stretch between 2014-18 for Cleveland. He won two Cy Young awards in that span, in 2014 and 2018 (20-7). However, he fractured his right arm after being hit by a line drive during a game against the Miami Marlins on May 1, 2019 and his season ended after just seven starts. Cleveland traded Kluber to the Texas Rangers on July 26, 2020, Kluber made his Rangers debut but lasted just 1 inning after experiencing shoulder tightness. New York signed Kluber to a one-year $11 million contract on January 27, 2021. Kluber got off to a slow start to 2021 (6.10 ERA in his first three starts), but he has improved upon his previous performances in each of his last three outings, lowering his ERA more than three runs in the process. He's thrown 19.1 innings in his last three outings, allowing just three ERs (1.40 ERA). He's earned wins in his last two starts, including allowing two hits over eight scoreless innings to help the Yankees to a 2-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers this past Sunday.
The Yankees conclude a nine-game homestand this weekend and after opening with FIVE straight wins, have lost their last two. The team's bullpen and defense fell apart Friday but with "no rest for the weary" (early start on Saturday), I'll back them here against the Nats. Washington is coming off an 11-run outburst but still ranks just 27th in scoring (3.71 RPG).
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Winning Starts Here