It does not get any better than this.
The Washington Nationals will welcome the New York Yankees to Nationals Park this weekend in what might turn out to be one of the best weekends of baseball this season.
Both teams have won six in a row heading into the game. The Nats have won eight of their last nine while the Yankees have won nine of their last 10. To make it even better, both teams look to be taking full control of their highly competitive divisions and will both enter the game in first place.
The teams enter the game right behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors, but one of these teams might be able to come out of the weekend on top of all of baseball. This series comes at the perfect time, as both sides will be facing their biggest test of the season when they play each other.
The Nats showed more heart last weekend in a sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, which included an incredible 13 strikeout performance by Stephen Strasburg. They followed it up by going to Canada and sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees are coming off a sweep against the New York Mets and then a road sweep of Atlanta. The Atlanta series included a comeback from 4-0 down in the eighth when Alex Rodriguez smashed a grand slam to tie the game at four before Nick Swisher gave the Yankees the lead with a two-run blast.
Both teams look unstoppable, but something has to give over the weekend.
On Friday, the Yankees will send Phil Hughes (6-5, 4.76 ERA) to the mound against Cy Young contender, Gio Gonzalez (8-2, 2.35 ERA). Hughes appears to have turned things around this season while Gonzalez continues to dominate every team he faces.
Saturday matches up the man who might be the reason for the Yankees' resurgence, Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.81 ERA), against Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.91 ERA).
The series finale will showcase Ivan Nova (8-2, 4.64 ERA) facing Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.02 ERA). Nova has been striking out batters at an unusually high rate and benefiting from great run support while Jackson has been pitching great but does not have the wins to show for it.
The Nationals will use their dominant pitching and the spark that Bryce Harper provides in the offense to try to top the Yankees, who have hit their stride with their starting staff as well. While the Yankees have veteran leadership, the Nats' progress can be credited largely to their young stars.
This is a big series for Harper, who openly cheers for the Yankees still. He might be a Yankee fan at heart, but this weekend he will have to forget about the team he grew up cheering for and do his best to help his team come out victorious.
Will the veteran leadership overcome or will the youth of the Nats carry them against the all-mighty Yankees?
One thing is for sure: This game might be one of the biggest game that Nationals Park witnesses in a long time—or at least until October.
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