Starting Pitchers Should Control Yankees-Nationals Stellar Matchup

gio gonzalez

Matthew Jordan

Monday, May 14, 2018 3:50 PM UTC

Monday, May. 14, 2018 3:50 PM UTC

Could be a World Series preview on Tuesday night (7:05 ET) as the New York Yankees take a rare trip to Washington, D.C., to face the Nationals.

NY Yankees (28-12, 23-16-1 O/U) at Washington (24-18, 18-22-2 O/U)Free MLB Pick: Under (& Yankees)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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No question that the series of the week is the two-game interleague set between the Yankees and Nationals from D.C., with Game 1 Tuesday at 7:05 ET. I can’t believe it’s not nationally televised (Wednesday’s is on ESPN). These two games surely will be the toughest regular-season ticket of the year for a Nationals home game. Washington will play two in the Bronx from June 12-13.

This absolutely could be a World Series preview. At 5Dimes, New York is a +280 favorite to win the AL pennant. Barring catastrophic injury, the Yankees are making the playoffs – either by winning the AL East (will be a dogfight all season with Boston) or via the wild card.

Washington got off to a bit of a slow start but is climbing the NL East standings, a division the Nationals have won three of the past four years and were heavily favored to do again. They probably will win the East, although it will be a bit tougher this year with center fielder Adam Eaton seriously hurt again, Daniel Murphy’s season debut still TBA, and the Phillies and Braves both improved. Maybe the Mets even get their act together. Washington is the +455 favorite to win the first pennant in franchise history. A Yankees-Nationals World Series is priced at +2500.

These franchises have played 13 times since the Expos moved to Washington, with the Nats leading 7-6. They last met in 2015. New York lost both games in Washington and split at Yankee Stadium. This starts an eight-game trip for the Yankees.

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Step in.
Ball out. pic.twitter.com/Qdp9m7KhWC

— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 13, 2018
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Probable Pitchers: Tanaka vs. Gonzalez

I’m utterly disappointed that Nats ace and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer won’t pitch in the series to watch him face reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and 2017 AL Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. The Yankees also miss Stephen Strasburg.

No slouch here for Washington in lefty Gio Gonzalez (4-2, 2.22), whose ERA is second-best on the staff behind Scherzer. Gonzalez has made three quality starts this season and comes off one last Wednesday, allowing one run and five hits over six in a no-decision at the Padres. Gonzalez’s eight strikeouts tied a season high. His changeup, thrown 21 times, was really working. Gio still walks a few too many, 19 in 44.2 innings, but has allowed just one homer. That was April 12 to Colorado’s DJ LeMahieu.

Gonzalez is an ugly 1-5 with a 6.65 ERA in eight career starts vs. the Yankees. I don’t take a ton from that because 2017-18 Gonzalez is the best he’s ever been. Stanton has seen Gonzalez by far more than any Yankee, going 6-for-31 with no homers and nine strikeouts. Brett Gardner is 2-for-11 with a triple. Keep in mind the Yankees lose the DH in the NL park. That’s usually Stanton, but he probably plays left field and Gardner sits.

New York starts Masahiro Tanaka, who will have to hit at least once (barring being pulled early). Tanaka (4-2, 4.66) hasn’t lost since April 17 but wasn’t great Wednesday in a no-decision vs. Boston, allowing four runs and a season-high eight hits, two homers, over 5.1 innings. His 3 Ks tied a season low. For what it’s worth, Tanaka’s worst start of the season was also an interleague matchup, April 17 in a loss to the Marlins.

Tanaka’s lone outing vs. Washington was June 9, 2015 at Yankee Stadium. He was terrific, giving up just a run and five hits over seven innings with six strikeouts and now walks in a 6-1 victory. Scherzer was the loser that day. Potential future Yankee Bryce Harper is 1-for-3 off Tanaka with a homer.

  • Yankees are 6-1 in their last 7 games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Nationals are 1-4 in Gonzalez’s last 5 interleague starts.
  • Under is 6-2 in Yankees last 8 road games vs. a left-handed starter.
  • Under is 6-1 in Gonzalez’s last 7 starts overall.

The Yanks have the better lineup, but Gonzalez has a 1.61 ERA in four home starts. The ‘under’ has hit in seven straight Yankees games against a lefty and eight straight Nationals interleague games. The ‘under’ is the Tuesday MLB pick with a slight second lean to the Yankees.

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