Game 29 lineups: Nats at Yankees

If he craves the biggest stage in baseball, it stands to reason that Max Scherzer would enjoy pitching at Yankee Stadium. It doesn’t matter if it’s the third incarnation of the historic ballpark. Everything about the place - the monuments in center field, the pinstriped players, the rhythmic cadence of the fans’ roll call - is special.

So why has the right-hander struggled - at least by Scherzer standards - in the Bronx and against the Yankees?

Scherzer-Fires-Gray-TOR-Sidebar.jpgScherzer is 4-4 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.531 WHIP in eight career starts against the Bronx Bombers. Those are perfectly reputable numbers in today’s game, but not what you’d expect from a three-time Cy Young Award winner. At Yankee Stadium he’s 2-3 with a 4.60 ERA and a 1.705 WHIP in five starts, and has surrendered six home runs n 29 1/3 innings.

Collectively, the Yankees slash .241/.310/.367 off Scherzer, but he’s had trouble with Giancarlo Stanton, who is 6-for-21 (.286) with three homers in his career off the righty. Stanton’s 12-game hitting streak came to an end Friday night.

Scherzer is coming off a complete-game victory Sunday against the Marlins, after which he rushed to the side of wife Erica for the birth of the couple’s third child, their first son.

Today’s matinee matches Scherzer against a two-time Cy Young winner: righty Corey Kluber, who inked a one-year, $11 million contract in January after injuries limited him to eight starts and a 5.65 ERA over the previous two seasons. The Yankees saw enough in a January showcase that drew 25 teams - including the Nationals - and he’s responded with a 2-2 record, 3.03 ERA and 1.348 WHIP in six starts.

Kluber hasn’t got much of a track record against the Nationals, winning the only game he’s ever pitched against them on June 16, 2013 in Cleveland, a 2-0 victory in which he threw eight innings, scattered seven hits and fanned eight.

The Nats have a cumulative .220/.281/.339 slash line off Kluber. Josh Harrison is 4-for-5 (.800) with a homer and three RBIs, while Alex Avila is 5-for-23 with four RBIs.

Juan Soto, who returned to the starting lineup Friday night as the designated hitter, is back in right field today. With the DH spot freed, both Ryan Zimmerman and Josh Bell are in the lineup, the former at first base and the latter serving as the DH. Avila is catching Scherzer.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at NEW YORK YANKEES
Where: Yankee Stadium
Gametime: 1:05 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN2, MLB Network (outside D.C. and N.Y. markets), MLB.tv
Radio: 106.7 FM, MLB.com
Weather: Cloudy, 53 degrees, wind 5 mph in from right field

NATIONALS
SS Trea Turner
2B Josh Harrison
RF Juan Soto
1B Ryan Zimmerman
DH Josh Bell
LF Kyle Schwarber
3B Starlin Castro
C Alex Avila
CF Victor Robles

RHP Max Scherzer

YANKEES
3B DJ LeMahieu
DH Giancarlo Stanton
RF Aaron Judge
SS Gleyber Torres
CF Brett Gardner
LF Clint Frazier
1B Mike Ford
C Kyle Higashioka
2B Tyler Wade

RHP Corey Kluber

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