Opening Day is set for July 23, and these two teams are at the top of their respective leagues. The defending champion Nationals will be going against the first-year Yankee in Cole. The Yankees are just behind the Dodgers with the second-best odds to win it all this season.
This is one of the best matchups in all of baseball, but the sportsbooks seem to give the Yankees the edge. The official schedule has not been released yet, but this game is a credible rumor for Opening Day.
New York is going to be a slight favorite. They have a -125 moneyline, and the run line is +138 (-1.5). The Nationals are +105 and have a -158 (+1.5) run line. The over/under set at 7 is even odds.
Hoping For Health
The Yankees are hoping they will have a full lineup for opening day. They have several injured guys that they are optimistic will be fine by Opening Day.
The Yankees expect their lineup to be DJ LeMahieu (2B), Aaron Judge (RF), Aaron Hicks (CF), Giancarlo Stanton (LF), Gleyber Torres (SS), Gary Sanchez (C), Luke Voit (1B), Gio Urshela (3B), and Gerrit Cole (P).
On the other side, the Nationals’ expected lineup is Trea Turner (SS), Adam Eaton (RF), Howie Kendrick (2B), Juan Soto (LF), Eric Thames (1B), Yan Gomes (C), Carter Kieboom (3B), Victor Robles (CF), and Max Scherzer (P).
Cole is coming off of an impressive year with the Houston Astros. It will be great watching these guys throw this year while they know they only have to have enough to get through a 60-game season.
There’s no doubt that Cole’s fastball will have some pop. He had the highest four-seam velocity strikeouts out of any starting pitcher in 2019 at 98.3 mph.
But Cole hasn’t had his normal success in his first outings of the season. In the last five years, he has a 4.23 combines era in his opening appearance. His numbers vastly improved with the Astros in 2018 and 2019. He only allowed one run in each of those years and pitched six or more innings.
Scherzer has been a good bet in the opening game of the season in years past. However, these games have mostly been against easier opponents. He has a combined ERA of 1.54 in opening starts of the past five years. All of which he went for at least six innings.
It will be interesting to see what kind of shape these players are in after the long layoff. And who will that benefit more? The pitchers or the hitters? Either way, hard to believe this game hits the over unless relievers can’t do their part.
After much discussion leading up to this baseball season, it will nice to see these two aces finally on the mound for two of the top teams.