Yankees at Nationals – Free Pick June 15th

New York Yankees +116 at Washington Nationals -123 (Total: 7.5)

Phil Hughes (6-5, 4.67 ERA) vs. Gio Gonzalez (8-2, 2.35 ERA)

Finally, we get the Interleague series that all baseball fans have been waiting for.  The two best teams (two of three, let’s include the Dodgers in the mix as well), square off when the veteran and venerable Yankees take on the young and exciting, up and coming, “don’t ask us clown questions, bro” Nationals.  Granted, the series might be a little more captivating if the location was Yankee Stadium as opposed to the Beltway (Bryce, you think the Toronto media was annoying???), but it is a spectacular matchup, and a possible World Series preview nonetheless.

The Nats have already went into Fenway and swept the AL East Red Sox, and then followed it up by sweeping a three-game set in Toronto.  In all, the Nats enter on a six-game winning streak and playing fantastic baseball in place they have historically struggled; interleague play, and specifically, against the AL East.  However, like nearly the entire narrative in the nation’s capitol, the story is much different this year.

For theYankees, perhaps reports of their demise (like usual) have been greatly exaggerated.  The Yankees are again in first place in baseball’s best division and enter this series winners of six straight and of 11 of 12 overall.  Their bats have come alive, which is not too surprising giving Texieria’s normal April/May struggles, and their pitching has gone from terrible to excellent – not coincidentally with the return of 40-year old Andy Pettitte.

On paper, there is a huge discrepancy in tonight’s pitching matchup, but over the last three starts for each pitcher, things have been pretty close to even.  Phil Hughes is improving, and is 2-0 with an ERA near 4.00 in his last three outings.  Meanwhile, Gio Gonzalez has come back to the pack a bit, going 2-1 with a still-good, but not dominant 3.50 ERA.

The trends are solid for both teams, given their huge winning streaks and recent great play, but I’m giving the slight edge to the Yankees tonight.  They have been the best team in baseball during interleague play for nearly as long as it has existed, and have been spectacular again this season.  The matchup is a very even one tonight, so I lean towards the value play, and that is the Yankees at plus-money.  You don’t get to bet on the Yankees and get paid a premium very often.  I’m taking advantage of the opportunity tonight.

Free Pick:  New York Yankees to WIN +116