Mets vs. Padres Pick MLB – August 18th

It was a good day for the presumptive leaders in the American League and National League MVP race yesterday.  Clayton Kersahw extended the Dodgers winning streak to ten games (and a staggering 42-8 in their last 50) with eight shutout innings, while Miguel Cabrera gave the Tigers a huge walk-off win over the Royals with his 39th homerun of the season.  Both players are at the absolute top of their games, and a potential World Series matchup seems possible and tantalizing.

For me personally, it has been an absolutely dreadful week – and it is high time to right the ship and get back on track.  Today’s pick is focusing on an afternoon game out on the West Coast, and hones in on Kershaw’s chief competitor for Cy Young honors, Matt Harvey.

New York Mets -132 at San Diego Padres +122 (Total: 6)

Matt Harvey (9-4, 2.23 ERA) vs. Eric Stults (8-10, 3.68 ERA)

Matt Harvey has been a revelation for the Mets this season and the main bright spot for a team desperately looking to its young emerging core of talent to help them return to contention.  However, he is coming off his worst outing of the season, allowing six runs in just 4 2/3 innings against the Dodgers.  It should be noted, it was against the DODGERS, who are in the midst of the best 50-game stretch in MLB since 1942.  I think a rough outing against them can certainly be excused.

Eric Stults will counter for the Padres, and his recent outing wasn’t much better.  He also lasted just 4 2/3 in his last outing and have allowed 37 hits in his last four starts.  Even worse, he hasn’t earned a win in well over a month, dating back to July 14th.  He will have to be excellent to beat Matt Harvey today, and I imagine his non-winning streak will be extended at least another five days.

The Mets aren’t a bad value at -132, but keep in mind that as brilliant as Harvey has been, it has been far from automatic Mets wins when he is on the hill.  Harvey’s record is a tidy 9-4 entering today, however thank to spotty run support and a dreadful bullpen, the Mets are just 13-11 in games Harvey has started.  That almost exactly mirrors the 13-12 record for the Padres with Stults, even though his record is only 8-10 and his ERA is almost a run and a half higher than Harvey’s.

Six is about as low a run total as you will see posted for any MLB game.  Given the reputation of Harvey and Petco Park as a run-inhibitor, I can see why it is an aggressively low number.  I am going to go the opposite direction and take the OVER.  Stults hasn’t shown an ability to shut down too many opponents, and as brilliant as Harvey has been, it is likely between him and the bullpen at least two or three runs will be surrendered.  That should be enough to get us over the total threshold.

Free Pick:  Run TOTAL OVER 6