On the heels of a 2-0-1 night, I dropped all three of last night’s picks in rather humbling fashion. In other words, they weren’t even close.
The Royals has smacked Matthew Boyd around in the past, but after getting out of a first-inning jamb, Boyd went into cruise control and the Tigers’ offense got their bats going and took a 6-0 game from their AL Central rivals.
The second loss was far worse, in fact, as the Cardinals dropped a cool 18-3 affair to the Brewers. St. Louis grabbed an early lead in the first, but Jack Flaherty allowed two homers in the bottom half of the innings would go on to allow seven more earned runs in an embarrassing loss for both the Cardinals and myself.
Finally, we actually had a real shot at the under 8 between the Indians and Cubs. It was a 4-3 affair in the bottom of the 8th before a throwing error on a Javier Baez scoring attempt allowed him not only to advance to third, but come all the way around to score. We still had a push into the 9th, but a Francisco Lindor game-tying two-run shot sank our pick for good.
We dropped 3.38 units on the night and will certainly look to get things straightened out on this 14-game MLB schedule today!
Season Record: 20-12-1
Now let’s check out this free MLB pick featuring the Mets vs. Phillies in an NL East tilt from Philadelphia!
Mets vs. Phillies Betting Odds
- Mets (-172)
- Phillies (+158)
- Mets -1.5 (-105)
- Phillies +1.5 (-115)
- Over 7.5 (-110)
- Under 7.5 (-110)
Mets vs. Phillies MLB Pick Breakdown
It’s a tight race, but Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom is making a real case to win his third consecutive NL Cy Young award here in 2020 as he looks to bolster that case against a division rival tonight.
deGrom enters this one sporting a cool 1.67 ERA/1.96 FIP on the season to go along with a monster 13.17 K/9 and excellent 2.17 BB/9. If the season were to end today, that would actually best his career-high ERA of 1.70 from the 2018 season when he won the first of his two Cy Youngs, so far.
I mean, the numbers are just elite across the board. He ranks in the MLB’s 97th percentile in xERA, 96th in xwOBA, 97th in K-rate and 98th in whiff rate. If that weren’t enough, his fastball velocity sits in the league’s 100th percentile as his 99 mph four-steam fastball average is actually 1.8 mph above last year’s number and 3 mph above his career number.
So, in other words, the best pitcher in the NL over the last two seasons is even better this year. When you put it that way, it’s hard to deny his case for his third straight nod in that department.
It’s an intriguing matchup on the other side of things as well as former Met Zack Wheeler takes on his former club in this one in the midst of an excellent first tour of duty with the rival Phillies.
Wheeler pitched well for the Mets after putting his injury woes behind him over the last couple years, turning in a 3.31 ERA in 2018 and a 3.96 mark last season with excellent peripherals both times. Those performances earned him a five-year deal in excess of $100M with the Phils, and so far he’s rewarded their faith in him with a sparkling 2.47 ERA/3.12 FIP while dropping his walk rate all the way down to 1.59 BB/9 and his home run rate to 0.35 HR/9.
Wheeler is also inducing more ground balls than ever before with a 52.9% ground-ball rate that exceeds his 47% career mark my a wide margin and crushing his 43.2% mark from last season.
The one area where he’s struggled is in the strikeouts department with a 6.35 K/9 that falls significantly below his 8.57 career mark, but he’s allowing just 26% hard contact as well, so his inability to put hitters away is certainly not hurting him to this point.
The Mets have had their way with right-handed pitching this season while they’ve also been an elite road offense.
Against righties, the Mets rank second with a .358 wOBA on the season while they have been the best offense in the league away from home by way of their .353 wOBA outside of Citi Field.
You could also imagine that if anyone had the scouting report on Wheeler, it would be the team he spent the first five seasons of his career with. That said, Wheeler has changed up his arsenal a little bite and isn’t relying on the heater that’s averaged 97.5 mph as much this season while adding a sinker to his repertoire, which helps explain his increased ground-ball rate.
After exploding for 18 runs in a beatdown of the Blue Jays last Friday, the Mets have scored just six runs over their last three games after managing just one against Jake Arrieta and a suspect Phillies bullpen in last night’s loss.
The Phillies have fared better offensively this season than they did last, but they have fared far better against left-handed pitching than they have righties.
The Phillies are tied for 15th with a so-so .320 wOBA on the season against right-handed pitching, but also 18th with a 98 wRC+ versus righties and 17th with a .165 ISO off of them.
That said, they’ve been good at home with a 10th-ranked .338 wOBA at Citizens Bank Park this season.
Above all else, however, is the fact they are missing two of their top three bats for this one in all likelihood. The red-hot power bat of Rhys Hoskins now lies on the Injured List with an elbow strain and it’s been reported he could even need Tommy John surgery while catcher J.T. Realmuto has missed the last few games with a hip ailment. Realmuto didn’t land on the IL along with Hoskins yesterday in a flurry of Phillies’ roster moves – a good sign that he could be back soon – but he’s not projected to start in this one.
Both players have missed the last four games and the Phillies’ offense has averaged just two runs per game in that time.
The Mets received disastrous results from their bullpen last season but the group has rebounded some this season. That’s not to say they have been among the game’s best, however.
The Mets enter this one sporting a 12th-ranked 4.24 bullpen ERA on the season, but they also sit 14th with a 4.45 FIP and 16th with a 4.62 xFIP. Nonetheless, I have a feeling they will take those results given the year-over-year improvement from last season.
Chief among the keys to the turnaround has been closer Edwin Diaz who struggled mightily in his first season in Queens last season. After posting an ugly 5.59 ERA/4.51 FIP last season on the heels of a historic 57-save 2018 campaign, Diaz has bounced right back to the tune of a 1.80 ERA/2.10 FIP to go along with an electric 18.90 K/9 – a number that is the best in the bigs among pitchers with at least 20 innings pitched this season.
While the Mets have seen serviceable results from their bullpen, the Phillies have not.
Even after they didn’t allow a run last night against the Mets, the Phillies rank dead last with an even 7.00 bullpen ERA on the season. While they’ve been better of late – it’s hard to be worse – they still own a 5.88 ERA over the last week, albeit with a strong 3.96 xFIP that indicates they’ve been unlucky of late as well.
The Phillies attempted a trio of relief upgrades prior to the trade deadline in former Red Sox Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree along with former Yankee David Hale, but Workman owns a 4.76 ERA with the Phillies, Hembree a mark of 8.22 while Hale has been the best of the trio at 4.05.
We saw the Nationals win a World Series with a brutal bullpen last season, but it’s safe to say the Phillies will need to be better in relief moving forward to enjoy potential postseason success.
Mets vs. Phillies MLB Pick
As we’ve seen many times over the last two-plus seasons, it’s no lock that the Mets win ball games in which deGrom starts. Since 2018, deGrom leads all of baseball with a 2.01 ERA, but is tied for 34th in that time with just 25 wins. That’s quite an amazing stat.
That said, I’m not looking for the Mets to win this one – although they should – but rather looking at the pitching matchup on the whole.
Wheeler has been fairly devastating himself this season and the addition of the sinker is boding quite well for his ground-ball rate as he’s pitching more to contact than trying to miss bats – and it’s worked.
The Mets are always a threat against right-handed pitching and as noted, they’ve been excellent on the road.
However, I think deGrom dominates these Phillies for the second time in three starts after pitching seven innings of one-run ball with 12 strikeouts in his second-to-last start against the Phils. Without Hoskins and Realmuto, a ton of the power evaporates from this Phillies offense.
I also think Wheeler foils his old club after pitching to a 3.46 ERA across 13 innings and two starts against the Mets earlier this season – including six innings of three-run ball his last time out.
Hopefully the bullpens cooperate, but I think the starters limit the damage in a big way here, a big factor that will lead to the under 7.5 in this one.