Free MLB Pick: Back Gonzalez & Nationals To Beat Mets Again

Monday, May 23, 2016 1:00 PM GMT

The Nationals won two games of a three-game series at Citi Field against the Mets last week in teams' first meeting of the season and are -147 on MLB odds with a total of 7½.

What You Need To Know
New York's lone win last week against Washington came behind Noah Syndergaard, and he will miss this series. He pitched Sunday as the Mets beat the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 to complete a three-game home sweep. The Nationals won the other two games vs. the Mets by a combined score of 16-2. Anthony Rendon killed the Mets in that series, going 6-for-10 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Former Met Daniel Murphy, the National League's leading hitter, was 4-for-11 with a homer, four RBIs and two runs scored. Jayson Werth was 3-for-9 with four runs scored. Bryce Harper was mostly quiet, going 1-for-9 with two runs scored.

The Mets are likely going to be without slugging first baseman Lucas Duda for this series and potentially longer. He's dealing with a back injury and the team was to make a decision on Monday whether Duda would land on the disabled list. The Mets are worried it's a disc issue.

"I'm real concerned, no question," said Manager Terry Collins. "I'm really concerned that this is going to keep this guy out for a while, but that's just me."

Utility man Eric Campbell has been used at first base with Duda out. Campbell has no home runs and just one double in 42 at-bats this season. Duda is hitting .231 with seven homers and 19 RBIs. He's hitting only .175 this month with one homer. The Mets have scored only 60 runs in May, the fewest of any team in baseball. The Mets have won 15 of 20 games vs. teams with a losing record but are 10-13 against teams above .500.

Ty Kelly likely would be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas if Duda does go on the DL. Kelly is hitting .391 with two homers and 15 RBIs in 115 at-bats with Las Vegas. That's only the best average among qualifiers in all of professional baseball -- including the majors. But Kelly isn't a top prospect as he's 27 years old and has never played in MLB.

Washington (27-17) leads the Mets (25-18) by 1.5 games in the National League East. The Nats are 18-21-5 'over/under' on MLB odds this season. The Mets are 20-22-1 O/U on MLB picks.


Probable Pitchers
New York starts Bartolo Colon on Monday. The 42-year-old is 3-3 with a 3.75 ERA and might have the most memorable home run in the majors this season (do a YouTube search of it). Colon wasn't sharp last Wednesday against the Nationals, allowing three runs and five hits over 4.2 innings, walking five. That was the most walks issued by Colon in a game since 2005. He had only four walks total this season entering that game. Colon put 11 men on base through the first four innings so he was lucky it wasn't worse. The Mets are 1-7 in Colon's past eight starts vs. teams with a winning record.

Harper is 3-for-13 career off Colon with a homer, two RBIs and five strikeouts. Rendon is 6-for-16 with a homer and four RBIs. He has really taken off since Manager Dusty Baker moved Rendon to sixth in the order from sixth, flopping spots with Werth. Rendon is hitting .529 (9-for-17) in his past five games. Werth is 5-for-10 career off Colon with two doubles and four walks.

Washington starts left-hander Gio Gonzalez (3-1, 1.86), who is third in the National League in ERA. Gonzalez allowed one run and five hits over 6.1 innings in beating the Mets on Wednesday. He struck out five and walked one. Gonzalez is 10-4 with a 2.59 ERA in 18 career games against the Mets. Washington is 4-1 in Gonzalez's past five starts vs. teams with a winning record.

Curtis Granderson struggles against Gonzalez, going 4-for-33 with 11 strikeouts. David Wright is 6-for-24 with a homer and four RBIs. Yoenis Cespedes is 4-for-7 with a homer against him.

For Our MLB Free Picks we'll take Nationals and 'under.' The Nationals are 5-1 in Gonzalez's past six starts vs. New York. The 'under' is 5-2-3 in his past 10 against the Mets. New York is 1-4 in Colon's past five vs. Washington.

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Free MLB Pick: Nationals -142 & Over 7½ -116
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline & Pinnacle