The Toronto Blue Jays had a big day yesterday as they blew out the New York Yankees 14-1, and all but assured themselves a playoff spot with the win. The Blue Jays are trying to stay ahead of the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels for the final wild-card spot in the American League. Yeah, you read that right, somehow the Los Angeles Angels have played themselves into the playoff conversation here late in the season as they have won eight out of their last eleven games.
The Astros didn’t do themselves any favors yesterday, as they lost to the Seattle Mariners, keeping the door open for both the Mariners and Angels to potentially catch them from behind in the final days of the regular season. The other headlining story in the AL from yesterday was that the Chicago White Sox continued their recent struggles, and the Minnesota Twins have taken advantage of it and have taken over first place in the AL Central Division.
Down the homestretch. 👀
— MLB (@MLB) September 24, 2020
Over in the National League, the Reds, Giants, and Phillies all picked up wins to bolster their postseason chances. While the Marlins, Mets, Rockies, Brewers, and Cardinals all lost, tightening up the race even further. In what is going to be a historically tight finish in the National League, we have six teams that are all either sitting right at .500 on the year, or one game above, or one game below, the breakeven point.
To further complicate things in the NL, the New York Mets are technically still within striking distance, down three and a half games with four left to play. For our free daily betting pick, we will follow those Mets as they head to the Nation’s Capital to face the Washington Nationals.
New York Mets (25-31) at Washington Nationals (23-33)
The New York Mets are still in the playoff picture in the National League, but just barely. The Mets would need to win out in their last series of the year, against the Washington Nationals, and get a lot of help from the teams they are chasing, but in the immortal words of Lloyd Christmas, so you’re saying there’s a chance? The Mets will look to stay alive tonight in game one of that four-game series with Washington.
For Washington, the defending World Series champion Nationals have been eliminated from the postseason and are wrapping up their season in this four-game series at home with the Mets. The Nats have actually played some decent baseball in the last week, as they had won four straight games before giving up twelve runs yesterday and getting blown out by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Starting tonight for the Nationals is Patrick Corbin (2-6 4.76 ERA), and for the Mets, it is David Peterson (5-2 3.80 ERA). The game total over/under is set at eight and a half runs. The Nationals are -125 betting favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM PST from Nationals Park in Washington DC.
New York Mets
While the New York Mets are technically still alive in the playoff race in the National League, their loss last night to the Tampa Bay Rays basically ended their season. And even though New York won’t be playing postseason baseball, it is hard to not think that this team overachieved just a little bit this season when you consider all of the injuries.
Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman never played a single game, and key position players like Yoenis Cespedes and Eduardo Nunez missed most of the year as well. But when you look at how some of these guys performed, that did manage to stay on the field, the Mets have some things to be proud of, and will look forward to being healthier next season, with a real shot at contending in the NL East.
Robinson Cano looked rejuvenated this season, as he hit .312 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI. Eddie Diaz is back to looking like an elite closer again after being a dumpster can fire for the Mets since they brought him over from the Seattle Mariners. Diaz posted a 1.50 ERA in 24 appearances with a sizzling hot 48 Ks in 24 innings pitched. Jeff McNeil isn’t showing the power we saw last year, but he is hitting .329 and looks to be a budding superstar for the Mets. Despite the poor results as a whole this year, the Mets are optimistic about the future.
David Peterson (5-2 3.80 ERA)
David Peterson entered this season as one of the Met’s top prospects after being drafted in the first round of the 2017 MLB draft. With all of the injuries to the Mets rotation, Peterson got his opportunity to pitch in the big leagues and has acquitted himself well. Peterson has made nine starts this year for the Mets, and New York is 6-3 in those nine games.
For a rookie, his sub-four run ERA is more than respectable, and he looks to be a guy that is going to slot right into this Mets rotation in the long run. In his last start, he had one of the best starts of his young career, as he worked six innings against the hard-hitting Atlanta Braves and allowed just one run on only three hits and struck out a career-high ten.
Similar to the Mets, the Nationals didn’t have much a chance at truly competing this year, as they just didn’t have their best players on the field. Washington saw Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman, and Joe Ross opt-out of the season before it even started, and Stephen Strasburg was shut down early due to an injury. Washington was already going to have to learn how to live without Anthony Rendon, after he left the team in free agency in the offseason, and this year was cursed from the start for the Nats.
Unlike the Mets, who still have somewhat of a bright future after a disappointing season, the Nationals are at a crossroads. Scherzer will be 36 next year, Strasburg will be recovering from major surgery, and super prospect Carter Kieboom was terrible in 33 games this year, before being sent to the Nats alternate training site. There are a lot of questions that will need to be answered in the offseason for Washington.
Patrick Corbin (2-6 4.76 ERA)
The Washington Nationals rode the trio of Max Scherzer, Patrick Corbin, and Stephen Strasburg to their first World Series title in franchise history last season. But it just hasn’t been the same this year, as Strasburg was awful in two starts before getting shut down, and Scherzer is finally starting to look his age, as he struggled through his worst campaign in years.
After getting Cy Young Award votes in each of the last two seasons, Patrick Corbin won’t be getting any votes this year, as he has struggled. His 4.76 ERA is a full run and a half higher than it was the last two seasons, and his K rate has fallen off of a cliff. He is regularly getting lit up, as he just can’t stop hitters from getting on base. His WHIP is the highest of his career at 1.53. Shockingly, the Nationals have lost the last seven games where Corbin has started.
Who Do I Like?
This line opened up with the Mets as -120 road favorites. That was a sharp number. But the betting public certainly didn’t seem to think so, as they have hammered the Nationals. I can see the appeal, they see a name like Patrick Corbin as a home dog, and think to themselves, wait, isn’t Patrick Corbin really good? But I guess they haven’t watched him pitch recently, because Corbin has been anything but good.
Corbin got blasted for seven runs on an absurd fourteen hits in his last start against the Miami Marlins. Two starts before that, he gave up five earned runs on nine hits to the Atlanta Braves. In September, he is 0-4 with a 6.17 ERA in four starts. And to be honest, it could have been even worse, as he allowed 37 hits and 7 walks in just 23.1 innings. Corbin is constantly in jams, and it has burned him recently.
I am going to do what I always love to do in this one, and that is fade the betting public. The Nationals are unbelievably bad as home favorites this season. Washington has been favored at home thirteen times this year, and they have won just four of those games. That is by far the worst record of any home team favorite, that has been favored more than five times.
David Peterson is a young prospect starting to figure things out in the majors and is getting better every start. In his lone start against the Nationals this season, he worked five innings, allowing just one hit and no earned runs. I would expect him to have a lot of success again tonight in this one. Give me the New York Mets as road underdogs tonight, at +115!