MLB Picks: Yankees at Nationals Series Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/14/2012
I have done three series previews already on the New York Yankees – including hitting on last week’s rout of the Mets -- and promised myself I would stay away from them for a while. But previewing New York’s series at Washington this weekend is simply a no-brainer as it features the two East division leaders and hottest teams in baseball in what could well be a World Series preview.
I really thought the Nats would come back to earth by now, but their starting pitching is just dynamic. I can’t wait until August when Stephen Strasburg will be at his supposed season innings limit (165) and the Nationals decide whether or not to shut him down even if they still are leading the division and a World Series threat. Unfortunately for baseball fans but fortunately for New York batters, the Yanks will miss Strasburg in this series. This is probably the biggest series in the young history of the Nationals franchise.
Yankees at Nationals Betting Story Lines
As noted in last week’s story, the Yankees are the kings of interleague play all-time and enter off sweeps of the Mets and Atlanta Braves to improve to 7-2 vs. the National League in 2012. The Yankees have won nine of their last 10 games and 15 of 19 thanks to improved pitching to take control of the AL East and grab the best record in the Junior Circuit. New York will also get a boost with the expected return of reliever David Robertson from the DL on Friday. He’s one of the league’s best set-up men. He closed briefly in place of Mariano Rivera before Robertson got hurt. Now he will go back to the eighth inning ahead of Rafael Soriano.
We could see history this weekend if Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate with the bases loaded. He hit a grand slam in Tuesday’s win over Atlanta to tie Lou Gehrig for the all-time lead in career grand slams with 23.
Washington enters off back-to-back sweeps at the Yankees’ division brethren Red Sox and Blue Jays and has won nine of 11 overall. The Nats have the fewest losses (23) in all of baseball and have opened a nice gap in the NL East. Since the Montreal Expos franchise moved to Washington in 2005, the Nationals have never finished above .500 and lost nearly 300 games from 2008-10. Of course, being lousy allowed the team to take Strasburg and Bryce Harper No. 1 overall in back-to-back years.
Washington ranks first in team ERA (2.94), WHIP (1.14) and opponents’ batting average (.219). I’m still skeptical of an offense that ranks just 24th in MLB in runs, but Harper is beginning to change my mind. The likely NL Rookie of the Year started a bit slowly, but his batting average has risen more than 150 points from his first 20 games to his last 20 games (in Harper's last 21 games, he's hitting .370 with five homers, 14 RBI and 19 runs scored). Overall he’s batting .303 with seven homers and 19 RBI. Harper loves facing the American League as he is hitting .424 with two homers and seven RBI in interleague play.
But the Nats are going to need more from $100 million man Ryan Zimmerman to seriously contend for the NL pennant. The all-star third baseman is hitting just.239 with three home runs and 22 RBI. Michael Morse has yet to get going since coming off the DL, batting just .205 with no homers and three RBI.
Yankees at Nationals Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Yankees RHP Phil Hughes (6-5, 4.76) vs. Nationals LHP Gio Gonzalez (8-2, 2.35) – Hughes has been much better of late, allowing just three earned runs over 15.1 innings in winning his past two starts. But he is among the MLB leaders in homers allowed with 15 and has allowed at least one in every start (so perhaps take that ‘will Bryce Harper homer’ prop on Friday). Gonzalez is a Cy Young candidate who is among the NL leaders in strikeouts. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game all season. The Yanks will know him from his Oakland days. He’s 1-1 with a 7.27 ERA in his career vs. New York.
Saturday: Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.81) vs. Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmerman (3-5, 2.91) – Pettitte’s numbers look great but he has pitched on the road just once this season and was bombed by the Angels in that start. He had some swelling in his pitching hand after snaring a comebacker in his last start but will be good to go. Zimmermann has lasted at least six innings in every start. Last time out he got a no-decision vs. Boston, allowing three runs and striking out seven in seven innings. Zimmermann gets some of the worst run support in MLB.
Sunday: Yankees RHP Ivan Nova (8-2, 4.64) vs. Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.02) -- Nova has won his past four starts and has allowed just one run on nine hits in his past 15 innings. He has never faced Washington. Jackson has averaged more than seven innings over his last five starts, posting a 2.21 ERA during that span. He is 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA in his career vs. the Yankees. A-Rod owns Jackson, hitting .375 with three homers and nine RBI in his past 24 at-bats vs. the pitcher.
Yankees at Nationals Betting Odds and Trends
The series line could be close to a ‘pick’em’ here but I expect the Yankees to be slight favorite, perhaps -130 or so. For Game 1, Washington is a -130 favorite with the total at 7.5.
New York is 13-17-1 on the ‘over/under’ in road games, while the Nats are 14-13-1 at home. The Yankees are 7-0 in their past seven after an off day. They are 10-1 in their past 11 Friday games. New York is 8-2 in its past 10 road games vs. a lefty starter. New York is 1-10 in Hughes’ past 11 road starts vs. a team with a winning record. Washington is 4-0 in its past four as a favorite. The Nationals are 5-0 in Gonzalez’s past five starts in a series opener. The under is 5-1 in Yankees’ past six interleague road games. The over is 5-1 in Washington’s past six openers of a series.
MLB Picks: Yankees at Nationals Betting Predictions
It will be interesting to see how the young Nats handle the hype of the Yanks coming to town with sellout crowds all weekend. Will they shrink from the moment or thrive in it, as they did in Fenway last week? I do think the Nats win Game 1 (take the under) but I have to go with the Yankees to take the final two games of this series.
Doc’s Sports is offering $60 worth of member’s baseball picks absolutely free – no obligation, no sales people – you don’t even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top MLB handicappers. Click here for more details and take advantage of this free $60 picks credit today.
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping
- 2021 AL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL West Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 NL Central Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 AL East Predictions and Expert Betting Advice
- 2021 Minnesota Twins Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Chicago White Sox Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Detroit Tigers Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series
- 2021 Kansas City Royals Predictions and Odds to Win the World Series