We picked up a win last night when we backed Gio Gonzalez and the Washington Nationals against the Cincinnati Reds. I have felt that Gio Gonzalez has been undervalued in the betting market for quite some time and find myself backing him often. He plays for a great team and consistently produces solid performances. Last night was no different. Gonzalez pitched six strong innings, allowing just one run and striking out seven.
The one area that I mentioned had me a little bit concerned was the National’s bullpen. Washington’s bullpen should be a good one this year, but they hadn’t been very good so far this season. Gonzalez handed the bullpen a big lead, and they almost blew it as they gave up four runs in just three innings of work.
I don’t see a reason to be overly alarmed about these early struggles for the Nat’s pen. Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson are just too good to struggle for too long. Today I will stay in the National League as I look at the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets.
The Philadelphia Phillies are in New York Monday for game one of a three-game series with the Mets. The Phillies are a rebuilding team this season and have gotten off to a bit of a slow start at just 1-2 on the year.
For the Mets, the lineup looks healthy, and the bats are swinging so far. The Mets are 2-1 this season after beating the Cardinals in their first series. Your starting pitching matchup features Ben Lively (0-0 0.00 ERA) for the Phillies against Matt Harvey (0-0 0.00 ERA) for New York.
The Mets are -117 favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Citi Field.
My first pick of this Major League season was backing the New York Mets on opening day. It was also my first win of the season. I know I am going to write up hundreds of picks this year, but you never forget your first winner.
I came into this season believing that the Mets are true playoff contenders this year. I love their lineup with Cespedes and Bruce providing the power and new additions like former MVP candidate Adrian Gonzalez and All-Star Todd Frazier supplying the veteran leadership.
Through the season’s first weekend the Mets are number one in the league in on-base percentage and number two in batting average. I can’t imagine that Mets will produce at that level all year long but if you don’t think this team is a talented one you are dead wrong. And that doesn’t even mention the starting rotation that is one of the better ones in the National League. One of the headlines of that star rotation will be on the mound tonight in the form of Matt Harvey.
Matt Harvey, just saying the name evokes a lot of feeling in New York. Some remember the Matt Harvey that showed up on the scene in 2012 as one of the most prized prospects in the game and pitched his first three seasons with an ERA under three. Harvey looked like the type of arm that you could build a franchise around and had all the charisma in the world. He was becoming a hero in Gotham.
Then the struggles came. Harvey got banged up and couldn’t stay on the field. He then got caught partying and was kicked off the team for a brief period of time. It looked like Harvey’s time as the savior of this Mets franchise was over.
Harvey has failed to pitch over one hundred innings in either of the last two seasons and had an ERA of over six last year. Harvey comes into this season allegedly healthy and ready to show that he can still be the guy that everyone thought he would be when he first burst onto the scene.
This Philadelphia Phillies team is on the back end of a rebuilding process that has taken a long time. They may have pulled the trigger a bit too early though as they signed Carlos Santana and Jake Arrieta in the offseason. Moves like those, bringing in high priced veteran guys, signals that the Phillies want to win now, but I am not sure they are quite ready yet. It still feels like this team is a year or two away from competing for the playoffs.
The pitching in particular is off to a rough start this year as they are dead last in the majors in batting average against through three games. They gave up twenty-seven runs to a Braves lineup that many expect to be very bad this year.
The Phillies are sending Ben Lively to the mound tonight to try and stop the bleeding. Lively has very little MLB experience. He was a late call-up last year and ran up a 4-7 record with a 4.26 ERA in his rookie campaign.
Matt Harvey is a bit of a wild card, but something inside of me wants to see him prosper again. Everyone is always a fan of a redemption story, and Harvey would be a great one in New York. I would like to see what he looks like fully healthy.
I think we should see that tonight. And even if Harvey doesn’t have his best stuff, this Phillies pitching staff has been getting rocked all year and will be facing a Mets lineup that is tearing the cover off the ball right now.
All of that adds up to be backing the Mets today. They are at home and are hot and riding high after winning their first series of the year. I think Harvey should be at least serviceable and expect the Mets to win this one easily.
Give me the New York Mets at home, as small favorites, laying -117 today.