It’s looking like a lost season for both of these teams, as the Nationals are 8.5 games from a Wild Card and the Yankees are even further at 9.5, but both will still want to bring home the series win after splitting the first two games of this weekday set. Let’s take a look at the odds for the rubber match, where the prediction is for the Yankees to cover a spread of -1.5, and the over to hit for a total of 9.
Nationals vs. Yankees Prediction
At long last, the Yankees have won a game. They lost 9 straight, their worst streak since 1982, and if they lost another, it would’ve been their longest in over a century. They snapped the streak in style; Luis Severino finally had a good outing, and Aaron Judge broke into the three-homer game club, joining teammate Kyle Higashioka, of all people. Judge had been in a 3-19 slump, so it’s great to see him flashing that power after missing time with an injury. Incredibly enough, he’s fifth in the AL in Home Runs, but only 149th in games played.
Before the loss on Wednesday, the Nationals had a good amount of momentum. They had won 8 games out of their previous 10, including series wins over the Phillies and Red Sox, as well as a sweep of the A’s. They’ve won a ton of close games, some pitcher’s duels, some barn burners, but they’ve done a great job closing them out regardless of how they got there.
The Yankees’ starting pitcher for the rubber match isn’t actually a starting pitcher at all; it’s Michael King, the team’s top long reliever. He’s only had one start this year, but has gone as far as 3.2 innings and thrown up to 44 pitches, so it’ll be interesting to see if manager Aaron Boone plans to use him for a few innings, or just as an “opener” for an inning or so.
He’ll be going up against Patrick Corbin for the Nationals, who is having a better year than the last two, in which he threw ERAs of 6.31 and 5.82 across 31 starts in each campaign. That being said, he’s still not been excellent, with an ERA in the upper 4’s and a WHIP approaching 1.500. Advanced metrics are even more bearish on Corbin, as it’s just been another tough season across the board for the former Cy Young candidate.
With Corbin on the mound and coming off of a big confidence win, I think the Yankees offense can have another good day. Their heavy right-handedness could finally come in handy against the lefty, but we’ll dig into that more in a second. The Yanks should pull away with the win, and in terms of the total, it depends on how far King is allowed to go, but unless the bullpen is flawless, they should allow enough runs for the over to hit when you account for the contributions made against Corbin and the Nats’ bullpen.
Nationals vs. Yankees Prediction: Yankees -1.5 (+124), o9 (+100)
Nationals vs. Yankees Odds
The Yankees are favorites at -162 on the moneyline, compared to +136 for the Nats. For a total of 9, the over is even money at +100 white the under is -120.
Nationals vs. Yankees Key Matchups
Patrick Corbin vs. Yankees Righties
The vast majority of hitters who have faced the lefty Corbin this year have been righties, probably by design by opposing managers platooning lefties out of the lineup. The Yankees are no exception, as they are fairly likely to start 9 righties against Corbin, although with the way their roster is built, they don’t have to strain too hard to do so. All of the platooning has a basis, as Corbin has a pretty defined split; the OPS he allows to righties is more than 150 points than that against lefties.
Since all of the Yankees are righties, let’s just look at a few of the key guys, including of course Judge, the reigning American League MVP. While Shohei Ohtani’s two-way heroics make him the consensus best player in the sport, few would deny that Judge is the best bat, after his historic 2022 campaign and his performance in the healthy stretches he’s had this year. Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe is also trending up with an OPS approaching 1.000 over the past couple of weeks, and 17 homers on the year.
Gleyber Torres has been the most consistent presence in the lineup this year, and his 19 homers are second on the team behind Judge. This isn’t necessarily a loaded Yankees lineup, but with 9 righties, their ability to do damage against the lefty Corbin is a big reason I have the Yankees covering a -1.5 spread in my Nationals vs. Yankees prediction.
Michael King vs. Top of the Lineup
King, who has 1 start in 41 appearances this year, does well against hitters 1, 2, and 4 in the batting order, but curiously has gotten crushed by #3 guys. It’s an interesting trend, but mostly positive in terms of stepping up against the top of the Nationals lineup in a starter role.
At the top of the lineup, CJ Abrams has been a pretty solid contact bat for the Nationals, followed by Lane Thomas in the two-spot, who leads all current, qualified Nationals in OPS with a figure of .808. Three-hitter Joey Meneses would be the problem spot based on King’s splits, and he’s having a down-year compared to what he flashed as a late callup last year; he has fewer homers in 118 games than he had in 56 a year ago. Still, he’s a solid bat in this lineup, as is catcher Keibert Ruiz, whose 15 home runs and .731 OPS put him in a pretty solid tier amongst his position group peers.
Nationals vs. Yankees Starting Lineups
Nationals Starting Lineup
SS C. Abrams L
RF L. Thomas R
DH J. Meneses R
C K. Ruiz S
1B D. Smith L
2B J. Alu L
3B I. Vargas S
CF A. Call R
LF B. Rutherford L
Yankees Starting Lineup
1B D. LeMahieu R
RF A. Judge R
2B G. Torres R
DH G. Stanton R
CF H. Bader R
SS A. Volpe R
LF E. Pereira R
C K. Higashioka R
3B O. Peraza R