Washington Nationals Series Preview: Nats vs. Yankees (5/19-5/20)

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May 12, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (30) throws a pitch in the first inning of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Eovaldi (3-1, 4.14) vs. Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 4.25) – 7:05 PM ET, broadcast on MASN and MLB Network 

 The Nationals will see a familiar foe on Tuesday night when former Marlin Nathan Eovaldi comes to Nats Park. Eovaldi was traded from the Marlins to the Yankees back in December along with first baseman Garrett Jones in exchange for infielder Martin Prado and starter David Phelps.

When you watch Eovaldi, one of the things that stands out about him is the velocity on his fastball. The average velocity on his heater, according to Fangraphs, is 95.8 miles per hour. He has used his slider more this year, but pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Girardi want him to be more confident with his offspeed pitches.

The Yankees have shown more confidence in Eovaldi, who has thrown over 100 pitches in each of his last three starts, but teams are hitting .305 against him and he has walked six batters over his last three starts. In seven starts vs. the Nats in his career, Eovaldi is 2-4 with a 4.76 ERA. Keep an eye on Ryan Zimmerman in this game. The Nats first baseman is 3-for-8 with two home runs against him.

As for Gio Gonzalez, he had a rough start last Wednesday in Arizona. After back-to-back wins, Gonzalez gave up five runs on nine hits in five innings of work during a no decision. Gonzalez does have a 3.32 ERA in three starts this month, but he is showing some inconsistency in terms of having two good starts and then a bad one. In fact, Matt Williams came out to the mound in the third inning of his last start and gave him a very stern talking to.

With Doug Fister on the disabled list, the Nats will need the lefty to step his game up a little bit. When he’s on his game, he has the ability to rack up the strikeouts with his fastball and breaking ball.

However, Gonzalez has not pitched well against the Yankees in his career. He is 1-5 with a 6.75 ERA in six starts. Mark Teixiera is 5-for-16 against Gonzalez with one home run, three RBI’s, and four walks.

Advantage: I am expect this game to be high scoring as both pitchers are susceptible to being hit and hit hard by opposing hitters. If this game does come down to the bullpens, you have to give the Yankees the edge because of the dominant duo of Betances and Miller late in games. While Gonzalez has a 1.38 ERA at Nats Park this season, I do think the top of the Yankees order will give him fits. New York wins a close game with a key hit by A-Rod as a pinch hitter late in the game.

Next: Tomorrow's Matchup