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It has been less than an ideal first half of the season for both the New York Mets and Miami Marlins. However, the Marlins are looking to get off to a strong start to the second half when they host the Mets for Game 1 of their three-game set against their NL East division rival.
Mets hoping make strong playoff push
Heading into the second half of the year, the Mets have a bit of an uphill battle to climb to get back into the playoff picture. New York has dropped seven out of their last 10 games that have pushed them 10 games under the .500 mark while being seven games behind the Philadelphia Phillies for the second wildcard spot. They have struggled to find consistency both on the mound and at the plate this year, but have had some strong stable play along the way. Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has not only been their most productive bat but has proven to be one of the rising stars in the majors in his first few months in the majors. Alonso is coming off a highly effective first half of the season as he has been among the most players in the league as he’s hitting .280 with 30 home runs and 68 RBI that has him on pace to notch 54 home runs and 122 RBI on the year. Alonso has proven to be their strongest threat at the plate that has anchored their batting order.
The Mets have also had strong play from another standout young talent that has come from second baseman Jeff McNeil as he leads the NL by hitting .349 with seven home runs and 36 RBI. McNeil has been one of the league’s best hitter and has stabilized the top of the Mets’ batting order throughout the year. However, they have struggled on the mound with their starting rotation having plenty of issues finding some level play this year. The Mets will be turning to right-hander Jason Vargas on Friday night as he has been working through a tough season. Vargas currently holds a 3-4 record with a 3.77 ERA in 15 games played with 14 starts. He has been struggled a bit on the road this year as he has a 2-2 record with a 4.34 ERA with a .248 opposing batting average in eight starts. If the Mets hope to get back on track from their recent slump, it will need Vargas to put forth a strong outing on the road.
Marlins hoping to get off to strong start in 2nd half
Through the first half of the season, the Marlins have had their fair share of struggles this year that has put them in this tough spot heading into the second half. They have worked their way into being well out of the playoff picture in the NL East currently sitting 19.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the division. Meanwhile, the Marlins are trailing the Philadelphia Phillies for the second wildcard spot by 13 games. This has seen them be plagued by less than stellar play both at the plate and on the mound that has seen them be one of the least productive in the majors. The bulk of this has come from their lack of reliable play from their bats this year being at the bottom of the majors with their overall run production. Miami is currently ranked 29th in the league in runs scored, 25th in hits, 24th in doubles, last in home runs, 25th in batting average, and last in slugging percentage.
This has been one of their most glaring holes throughout the year that has put many to believe that they are in rebuild mode this season. The Marlins have not had any type of strong production from their bats in the last two seasons, especially after moving on prematurely from now reigning league MVP Christian Yelich. They have had some promising spots along their batting order this year as it has seen third baseman Brian Anderson emerge as their most productive bat this year, which isn’t entirely a huge mantel to carry at this point in time. Anderson is currently leading the Marlins with 11 home runs and 38 RBI heading into the second of the campaign. Ultimately, this contest will come down to their play on the mound as they will need right-hander Caleb Smith to step it up at home against a struggling Mets team. Smith currently holds a 4-4 record with a 3.50 ERA, and a .201 opposing batting average in 13 starts this year. What bodes well for Miami is that the 27-year-old is a markedly better pitcher at home holding a 3-1 record with a 1.84 ERA, and a .176 opposing batting average in five starts. With Smith proving to be a huge asset at home this season, it pushes the tide in their favor for Friday’s tilt to open up the second half of the year.
- Marlins are 6-1 in Smith’s last seven starts against a team with a losing record.
- Marlins are 4-1 in Smith’s last five starts against a National League East division opponent.
- Marlins are 8-3 in Smith’s last 11 starts with five days of rest.
- Mets are 1-4 in their last five games following an off day.
- Mets are 1-4 in their last five Friday games.
- Mets are 2-9 in their last 11 games against a National League East division opponent.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This is a matchup between two struggling teams, but the Mets have been abysmal on the road this year holding a 17-31 record. What favors things in the Marlins favor is how effective Smith has been at home, where he’s dominated in his first five outings. All of this seemingly pushes things in Miami’s favor on Friday night.
Prediction: Miami -112
Full-Game Total Pick
At the same time, this will see arguably the league’s least productive offense square against a Mets team that has stumbled over the last few weeks. New York has bright spots from the play of both Alonso and McNeil, but they will be facing Smith, who has played like an ace at home this year. Keep in mind, the under is 5-0-1 in Marlins’ last six games overall.
Prediction: Under 8