New York Mets (21-27) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (24-23)
Can the New York Mets sneak their way into the Wild Card round? Losing to the Philadelphia Phillies, a team 3.5 games ahead of them in the standings is not helping their cause, but they look to turn things around when the two NL East rivals close out a three-game set on Thursday.
The Phillies won the opening game of this series with Game 2 on Wednesday night. Philadelphia won 4-1 on Tuesday. These two teams have already faced each other in two other series. The Phillies swept three games on August 14-16 in Philly. The teams split a four-game series early this month.
Trying to Turn Production into RunsThe New York Mets lead the Majors in hitting at .279 and are first in on-base percentage (.354). however, they are only 10th in runs. The problem is that they are leaving far too many men left on base and they lead the Majors in hitting into double-plays.
This is not a clutch team. They are 25th in hitting with runners in scoring position and are 20th with runners in scoring position and two outs. Those kinds of numbers lead to runners left on base, a lack of run support, and a lot of close losses. The Mets are 4-9 in one-run games and are 1-4 in extra-innings. With the lack of clutch hitting it is easy to see why they are struggling to score runs.
The Mets venerable pitching staff has not been as invincible as many believed when the season began, ranked 19th in the Majors. However, Seth Lugo has been a big bright spot. The right-hander is 2-3 with a 2.63 ERA in 13 appearances, four of which are starts.
After making nine straight relief appearances, including saving three games, Lugo has become a permanent fixture in the rotation. He was very good in his first three starts, allowing two total runs in 11.2 innings, but struggled in his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings.
Phillies Thankful for MetsThe Phillies had to be thankful to see the Mets come to town. Philadelphia had traveled to Miami to play seven games in five days and they can away with just two wins. Yipes is the operative word.
The one bright spot in that series was Thursday’s starter for Philadelphia, right-hander Aaron Nola. He tossed seven shutout innings against the Marlins, allowing just two hits while striking out 10.
That was the second straight outing for Nola where he struck out 10. His first came against the Mets on September 6, where he reached double-digits in strikeouts, but was rocked for six runs, three earned, in 5.1 innings.
Nola had either been very good or mediocre in his nine starts. In seven outings he has allowed a total of four runs, including throwing seven shutout innings in two appearances and eight shutout innings in another. However, in his other two starts, he has given up 10 runs in 8.0 innings.
- 7-1 in their last eight games against a right-handed starter.
- 6-1 in their last seven games at home.
New York Mets:
- 2-5 in their last seven games.
- 2-6 in their last eight games on the road.
- 2-8 in their last 10 games against the Phillies.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The New York Mets are given a 25% chance of winning this game, and that is generous to be honest. Not only is Philadelphia playing extremely well against New York at home, but the Phillies have figured out Lugo. Jean Segura is hitting .455 against the right-hander while J.T. Realmuto is at .313. Of the five Philadelphia players who have at least six at-bats against Lugo, all but one is hitting .278 or better.
The question is which Aaron Nola will be on the hill. He is either absolutely brilliant or terrible. In his last outing against the Mets, we saw the terrible version, but I do not see that happening here. Philadelphia has been dominating the Mets at home and that will continue on Thursday.
Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies (-141)
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 8.0 for this game, and that is a pretty good pick. The Mets are a team that struggles to drive home runs when they have the opportunity, and Nola is not one to hurt himself, allowing just 13 walks in 56.1 innings pitched the season. He is also allowed just 37 hits.
When these two teams square off the trend is to go under as well. They have gone under in five of the last seven games and have gone under in five of the last six games in Philadelphia. We look for that to continue. Take the Phillies to win, 5-2.
Prediction: Under 8.0 (-110)