MLB Top 6: Best and worst interleague bets

May 14, 2013 |
MLB Top 6: Best and worst interleague bets
Atlanta has succeeded in just about everything but interleague play.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Atlanta has succeeded in just about everything but interleague play.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The new interleague structure in the major leagues, a season-long format as opposed to sporadic pockets throughout the season, has seen all but six big league clubs face a team from the opposite league.

Only the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland A's, Houston Astros, St, Louis Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have yet to partake in interleague games, though the Giants and Jays open a series Tuesday. Still, we have a large enough sample size to delve into the numbers and see which teams have gotten off to a strong start and which clubs have struggled in the early stages of interleague matchups.

Best interleague bets

Washington Nationals (5-0 IL)

The Nationals have taken a three-game series versus the Chicago White Sox and a mini two-game series over the Detroit Tigers this season to have a clean 5-0 record in interleague play. The Nationals seem to do their best scoring against American League teams. In the five interleague games, they have outscored opponents 28-18. The Nats are 13th in the National League with 137 runs on the year. That total gives them an average of 3.6 per game. In interleague play, they average a vastly improved 5.6 runs per game.

Washington's next interleague matchup will be a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles May 27.

Tampa Bay Rays (5-1 IL)

A three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres has the Rays riding a wave of momentum and has improved their interleague record to 5-1. They took two of three from the Colorado Rockies earlier in the month to get the ball rolling in their interleague schedule. Tampa Bay is crushing the ball, having played over the total in 14 of its last 15 games overall. Five of those have been versus NL opponents. The Rays have battered NL pitching, outscoring teams from the senior circuit by a score of 36-28 in their six matchups.

The Rays will face the Miami Marlins in a battle for Florida bragging rights on May 27.

New York Mets (3-1 IL)

The Mets have gotten off to a great start posting three wins in four games in interleague matchups. It helps to have one of the best pitchers in the game pitching in two of those victories. Matt Harvey started and won both of his interleague starts. He tossed a 1-0 shutout versus the White Sox on May 7 and went eight innings in a 4-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins on April 13. It's just unfortunate the Mets can't play the AL all the time. They have gone just 11-20 versus the National League.

The Mets will play a four-game subway series versus the Yankees on May 27.


Philadelphia Philles (1-4 IL)

In 2012, Philly posted a porous record of 5-10 against AL foes. This season, it's just as bad. The Phillies have surrendered a total of 45 runs in their five games and have managed to score just 18 themselves. The Phils have had trouble across the board this season, but their games versus the AL have amplified their shortcomings.

The Philles will get another crack at the AL with a mini two-game set versus the Cleveland Indians Tuesday. They have lost both their games versus the Tribe this season by a combined score of 20-2.

Chicago White Sox
(1-4 IL)

On the year, the White Sox have posted some great pitching numbers, coupled with some poor hitting statistics. In interleague play, the ChiSox are an improved offensive club with pitching woes, save for a 1-0 loss against Harvey and the Mets on May 7. Chicago ranks 28th in the majors with a .229 batting average, but that number is improved to .260 against NL clubs. Its reliable 3.51 ERA balloons up to 4.68 against the NL.

The Pale Hose will get another crack against the NL as they host the Marlins on May 24.

Atlanta Braves (1-4 IL)

The NL East-leading Braves just can't get it done versus the AL. In 2012, they posted a subpar 8-10 record in interleague games. The Braves have the best inter-division record in MLB, having gone 11-4 against NL East rivals, but have posted an alarming 1-4 record in interleague matchups. This could be crucial considering the Nationals have had success versus the AL. The Braves were swept by Detroit in late April and were outscored 25-7 in the three games.

The Braves will try to right the ship in their next interleague matchup as they face the Minnesota Twins on May 20.

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