The Miami Marlins are in New York Monday for game one of a three-game series with the Mets. The Marlins are clearly in rebuild mode at this point and find themselves in last place in the National League East Division. The Mets, on the other hand, are hoping to see this season end with a trip to the playoffs despite their current third-place record.
Starting tonight for the Mets is Jason Vargas (0-3 13.86 ERA), and for the Marlins it is Elieser Hernandez (0-0 2.25 ERA). The Mets are -132 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Citi Field in New York City.
The New York Mets started out this season at 11-1. They were the toast of the town in New York City, something that is very hard to do with the Bronx Bombers playing down the road. But since that hot start, the Mets have really struggled. They dropped both Phil Hughes and Matt Harvey from their starting rotation and added journeyman Jason Vargas to help fill the gap.
The Mets were 3-10 to start off the month of May before they picked up a three-game sweep over the struggling Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. Tonight’s starter Jason Vargas has really struggled in his short time in the rotation, and will look to get back on track tonight against the Marlins.
Vargas has made three starts this season. He is 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA. No, that’s not a typo, Vargas has been horrific. He is averaging just over four innings a start and does not appear to be fully healthy. The Mets threw him into the rotation as Phil Hughes was not pitching well and it felt at the time that it might have been a little rushed. Looking back now three weeks later, it was likely very rushed as Vargas has been really bad. And it hasn’t been against huge hitting teams. He got rocked by the Reds and the Padres, two of the worst teams in all of baseball. It will be very curious to see how much longer the Mets let Vargas struggle before they pull the plug on this failed experiment.
Starting for the Marlins tonight is Elieser Hernandez. Hernandez started the season on the disabled list and then pitched out of the Marlins bullpen to start his MLB career this year. Hernandez made his first ever major league start on May 16th against the Dodgers and pitched very well. Hernandez pitched five innings, gave up just three hits and allowed only one run in the Marlins victory. Hernandez is just one in a long line of young prospects that the Marlins will be auditioning this season.
He was a dominant strikeout guy in the minors, but that has yet to happen for him yet in the big leagues as he has just three Ks in his seven innings of work on the year. Hernandez has already made three stops this season in the minors, starting out at A ball and moving to double-A and then triple-A before getting called up this year. It should be a soft landing spot for him tonight as he is pitching against the Mets who are twenty-sixth in the majors in runs scored and twenty-fifth in home runs.
I can’t believe Jason Vargas is a favorite in this game. He has been terrible so far this year. I get it, it’s the Marlins, they stink, and they stink especially bad on the road. But Vargas is clearly not healthy and is struggling against even bad teams. Hernandez is completely unproven and a fairly lightly regarded prospect to begin with, so I don’t have a ton of confidence in backing him either, but I just think betting against Vargas is a great thing to do right now. His struggles go back as far to the second half of last season where he finished up the year pitching very poorly. The total of just eight and a half shows a lot of value as well. I know both of these teams struggle to score runs at times, but we saw last night when the Marlins exploded for nine runs against the Braves, that they can score from time to time if the pitching is bad.
So, for today’s pick, I am actually going to give you two picks. It is very rare that I have a strong opinion on a side and a total, but I do today in this one. I like taking the Marlins as dogs, and I love taking the over eight and a half runs. So, I am going to fire on both of them tonight. It feels like a high scoring, coin flip of a game to me, so I will take the extra juice on the dog and sit back and watch the fireworks. Give me the Miami Marlins +112 and the over 8.5 runs at -120.