What feels like forever to get here is finally upon us. In the Nation’s capital, under the bright lights, two of Major League Baseball’s top teams squared off in the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals. This season, New York is looking to end their long World Series drought with a star-studded lineup and pitching staff. And as for Washington, coming off of a roller-coaster season with a Cinderella story ending by winning the World Series in seven games versus Houston, the Nats are looking to repeat their quest.
Here’s a series recap between the Opening Week matchup between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals:
Game 1, Opening Day Final: Yankees 4, Nationals 1 – F/6 (Inclement weather)
Probables: Gerrit Cole (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Max Scherzer (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Kicking off the 2020 Major League Baseball season was a showcase between two elite arms, Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer. Cole, who signed a nine-year, $324 million contract this offseason with New York, gave fans a first glimpse of what he can bring to the table. Striking out five while only earning one run in 5 IP of work gives New York a positive note to begin the 2020 campaign. Dealing for the Nationals, perennial Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer, was locked in and brought the intensity while striking out 11 in 5.1 IP.
Power against power, the New York Yankees lineup outmatched Scherzer on Opening Day. Giancarlo Stanton opened the game up in the first inning and launched a two-run home run (1) to begin the scoring for New York. In the bottom half of the inning, Adam Eaton (1) took Gerrit Cole deep to right to put the Nationals on the board.
Jumping to the third inning, American League MVP candidate Aaron Judge doubled to left while the speedy and versatile Tyler Wade hustled from first base to score.
In the fifth inning, leading all scoring, slugger Giancarlo Stanton singled to right while Gio Urshela rounded third and was the eventual dagger in the 4-1 win.
As no surprise to 2020, anything can happen. From what was originally looked at as a possible half hour rain delay eventually turned into a shortened game with the final being six innings. The Yankees take game one in six innings and lead the series 1-0.
Player of the Game: NYY – Giancarlo Stanton: 2-3, HR, 3 RBI
Game 2 Final: Nationals 9, Yankees 2
Probables: James Paxton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Erick Feede (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Having an off day in-between Game one of this Opening Weekend series, both teams looked to regroup and eager to win game two of this three game set. Coming into the game, Yankees starter James Paxton was 10-0 in his last 11 starts. Although the odds in his favor, you can still always expect the unexpected. By allowing a multitude of second inning runs, that 11-game streak was wiped. Paxton only went one inning and allowed three earned runs.
Originally scheduled to throw for the Nationals was ace Stephen Strasburg. But a few hours prior to first pitch, Strasburg was scratched as the starter due to a nerve issue in his right hand, per The Washington Post.
Taking Strasburg’s spot was Erick Feede. Feede, coming into the game with little to no expectations, outlasted Paxton and tossed a solid line of 4 IP, 4 hits, 1 earned runs on 68 pitches. Although, the heavy momentum shifters of the game was Washington’s offense. Catching fire with a three-run second inning, the Nationals were in the driver’s seat the entire way.
Driving in two on a double, Nationals’ Victor Robles began the scoring wave. Adding to the lead, Shortstop Trea Turner grounded into a double play which ultimately scored one.
For the Yankees, making his season debut, DJ LeMahieu ignited the small spark of the scoring for New York with an RBI Single. Following the second baseman, in the 4th inning, slugger Giancarlo Stanton clobbered a solo shot (2) to make it a one-run ballgame. Unfortunately for Manager Aaron Boone and co., this would be the only runs scored as Washington would follow with six more unanswered runs.
Crushing a two-run home run (1), Victor Robles added to Washington’s. Have a day, Victor Robles! Right then and there, Washington was not done yet. A pair of doubles from Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera drove in one each in the 5th.
Heading into the final third of the game, Washington had a secure lead of 7-2, but the offense kept firing on all cylinders. A solo shot from Asdrubal Cabrera in the 7th, and Michael A. Taylor in the 8th, finally put the nail in the coffin for the Nationals.
Although Washington did commit five errors, this did not play a pivotal factor in today’s game. Nationals tie the series at one a piece heading into the rubber match.
Player of the Game: WAS – Victor Robles: 3-4, 4 RBI, 1 HR, 1 R
Game 3 Final: Yankees 3, Nationals 2
Probables: Jonathan Loaisiga (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Patrick Corbin (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
With the series tied even at one, both teams were looking for the series win in the best of three game rubber match. Taking the ball for Washington was Patrick Corbin and boy, was he dominant. Dazzling the empty crowd with his knee-buckling curveball and pinpoint accuracy, Corbin went 6.1 IP and only allowing one run on two hits. Corbin took control of the game and tallied eight strikeouts during his first outing of the season.
For the Yankees, Manager Aaron Boone decided to go the route of a bullpen day by starting Jonathan Loaisiga. Loaisiga was outlasted by the strong performance of Corbin, but ultimately held his own. Spinning two hits on one earned run in three innings of work, Loaisiga was backed by the team’s strong bullpen to combat the Washington offense.
The scoring production from the Washington offense was held to only two in the early innings from a home run from Michael A. Taylor (1) and an RBI Single from Eric Thames. Besides the two run production, the top-tier Yankees bullpen held Washington scoreless for the remaining five innings.
New York’s offense was also held to a shutout through six due to the strong production from Patrick Corbin, but that changed in a blink of an eye. Young sensation Gleyber Torres (1) crushed a solo home run and just like that, the Washington lead was cut the lead in half. In the same inning, the 7th, first baseman Luke Voit, added one more to the lead with a solo homerun.
Heading into the 8th, the game was tied at two. This changed fairly quickly as Gleyber Torres, again, drove in one more with an RBI Single. Yankees take the lead late, 3-2.
Slamming the door slut and completing his first save of the season was Zach Britton. Ball game over. Yankees take game three with a score of 3-2 and takes two of three while coming out with a series win!
Player of the Game: NYY – Gleyber Torres: 3-4, HR, 2 RBI
Player of the Series: NYY – Giancarlo Stanton: 4-9, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 BB
Monday July 27 – Thursday July 30: at Philadelphia Phillies
Photo: AP Photo / Alex Brandon