- The New York Yankees are -116 favorites over the Washington Nationals on Saturday
- James Paxton (15-6, 3.82 ERA in ’19) will start for New York, while Washington will counter with Stephen Strasburg (18-6, 3.32 ERA in ’19)
- Read below for a preview and betting prediction for the game
The New York Yankees opened up the pandemic shortened season with a rain shortened victory win over the Washington Nationals on Thursday. $324 million dollar man Gerrit Cole allowed just a single hit in five innings of work, while $325 million dollar slugger Giancarlo Stanton did the offensive damage, belting a two-run home run.
Giancarlo Stanton hits a ball to the moon in the first inning of regular season baseball in 2020. pic.twitter.com/3Z56w9pGey
— Bronx Bomber Ball (@BronxBomberBall) July 23, 2020
New York, one of the World Series favorites, will look to hand the defending champs a second straight to open the season when they meet Saturday at 7:15 pm EST.
Yankees vs Nationals Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline||Total at FanDuel|
|New York Yankees||-116||-1.5 (+134)||Over 8.5 (-108)|
|Washington Nationals||+102||+1.5 (-158)||Under 8.5 (-112)|
Odds taken July 24th.
New York opened as a small favorite in the Yankees vs Nationals odds, and the game’s 8.5 total is testament to the talent of both starting pitchers.
Paxton in a Contract Year
James Paxton, and his “meager” $12.5 million dollar salary, will get the ball for the Yankees after ending the 2019 campaign on an absolute tear. The left-hander won his final 10 regular season decisions and finished with a 3.5 WAR.
— Dillard Barnhart (@BarnHasSpoken) October 19, 2019
For the second consecutive season, he posted a K/9 rate above 11 and he surrendered two runs or less in each of his last nine starts (including playoffs).
Nationals Career Stats vs Paxton
With Juan Soto absent from the team due to COVID-19, this Nationals line-up looks very unimposing and shouldn’t cause Paxton much trouble. The 31-year-old held opposing batters to a .199 average over the final two-plus months of 2019, and the impending free agent will be looking for a fast start to boost his stock for 2021. Paxton only has 10-12 starts to convince the Yankees he’s worthy of a big money deal, so starring out of the game is imperative for him.
Nats Showed Strasburg the Money
Speaking of big money pitchers, Stephen Strasburg inked a seven-year, $245 million dollar contract in the offseason, giving him the second highest average annual salary among pitchers in the league.
Stephen Strasburg became the 5th pitcher in MLB history to sign a $200M+ contract 💰 pic.twitter.com/Pye26Uo4ZE
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) December 9, 2019
Like Paxton, he ended 2019 on a tear, allowing one run or less in 11 of his final 13 starts (including playoffs). He finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting, and was an absolute stud in the postseason. He threw 7 innings of one run ball in the NLCS, and held the high powered Houston Astros to four runs over 14.1 innings en route to winning World Series MVP honors.
Yankees Career Stats vs Strasburg
He’s had little experience against the majority of this New York lineup, but he’s no stranger to shutting down high potent attacks in the past. As mentioned, he neutralized the Astros in the World Series, and he posted a 2.08 ERA in two starts against the mighty LA Dodgers last season.
Strasburg was also dominant at home in 2019. He posted a 10-2 record at Nationals Park, limiting opposing hitters to a .202 average and racking up a 116-19 strikeout-to-walk rate.
A Pitcher’s Duel
With two premier pitchers on the mound offense is going to be tough to come by. Most of the Yankees will be getting their first look at Strasburgh and by the time they get a read on him it will likely be too late.
2019 PitchingNinja Award for Most Ridiculous Convergent Overlay. 🏆😯
[82mph Curveball, 87mph Changeup & 94mph Fastball]
Stephen Strasburg pic.twitter.com/R1qCfxD3pB
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) December 15, 2019
The Nats offense meanwhile, looks incredibly average without Soto and should struggle mightily against Paxton. Betting the under in a Yankees game is always a dangerous proposition, but this line feels a bit inflated due to the public’s affection for the Bronx Bombers.
Pick: Under 8.5 (-112)
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