When the New York Yankees take on the Washington Nationals to open the 2020 season on Thursday, they will have quite a tall task ahead of them. They’ll be facing a team fresh off a World Series Championship, facing arguably the best starting pitcher in all of baseball. That would be Max Scherzer, a three-time CY Young award winning pitcher.
Scherzer hasn’t won the award since 2017, but has finished in the top three the past two seasons. In 2019, the now almost 36 year-old was 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 172.1 innings. He had a 1.027 WHIP and a career-low 2.45 FIP.
Scherzer mainly throws a four seam fastball that tops off in the mid-90s, and a wipeout slider in the mid-80s. He hasn’t seen much of a speed drop-off, something common with older pitchers.
Although Scherzer is known for his dominating stuff, he didn’t look great last Saturday against the Phillies in a scrimmage. In just two innings, he gave up seven runs. Even though it’s just a scrimmage, it would be a bit concerning to see your ace get shelled just days before Opening Day.
But, hopefully for the Yankees, their lineup will overpower the dominating starter. With the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and others; the Yankees have arguably the best offense in baseball.
The Nationals have a great offense too, led by Juan Soto and Trea Turner. However, the team lost Anthony Rendon to the Angels over the offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fill the void at third. Will the Nationals offense be too much for Gerrit Cole in his first Yankee start?
Thursday’s Opening Day matchup between the Yankees and Nationals is set to be a blockbuster. Will the Yankees be able to prevail over three-time CY Young winner Max Scherzer? Or, will it be the Nationals getting to Gerrit Cole in his first Yankee start?