Chen's Home Run Troubles Calls For Early Scoring At The Big Apple

Mark Lathrop

Tuesday, July 5, 2016 11:47 AM GMT

With the Mets bullpen taxed from Monday, our MLB handicapper analyzes this situation and pitching matchup to bring you the best wagering value on hand as the Marlins visit the Big Apple.


MLB 2016 Record: 32-18-3, +13.01 Units

The New York Mets continue their almost two-week home stand on Tuesday night as they host the Miami Marlins in the second game of their three game set. Let’s take a look at the opening odds that have been posted before the end of their game on Monday based on the starting pitching matchup. The home team New York Mets are drawing the early money, with the money line sitting at -140 at books such as BetOnline. The O/U total is split between 8 and 8.5, with Pinnacle posting an 8 at even juice and BookMaker posting an 8.5 with a -120 lean on the under.

Starting for the Miami Marlins is Wei-Yin Chen, who signed a five year, $80-million-dollar contract over the offseason. A very consistent pitcher with the Orioles organization from 2012-2015, Chen has struggled in his transition to Miami and the National League. On the year, Chen is on pace to put up the worst ERA, FIP, BABIP, BAA, and home run rates. This has translated to a 4-3 record over 16 starts, 5.11 ERA, 74/21 K/BB rate, 1.32 WHIP, and .272 batting average allowed. The home runs have been especially unnerving for Marlins fans, as Chen should have been helped by getting out of Baltimore and the AL East in this regard. On the year he has already given up 16 home runs, good for a 14.4% HR/FB rate and 1.57 home runs per nine innings.

Over at fangraphs.com, Neil Weinberg has speculated that Chen’s RH/LH splits have finally caught up with him and the numbers don’t lie. Chen is now seeing fewer left-handed batters than he ever has before, and of those 16 home runs he has given up on the season, 15 of them have been given up to right-handers. A drop in velocity has also led to Chen being hit harder than ever before, with ‘hard-hit’ balls in play jumping to 36.9% from 28.3% in 2015.

Countering for the Mets is sophomore Steven Matz, who after winning seven straight decisions through May 25th has yet to pick up a win over his last six starts. His ERA has risen by a point over that time, but still sits at a respectable 3.40 on the year. On the year, Matz has posted a 7-3 record, 79/18 K/BB rate, 1.23 WHIP, and .259 batting average against. His peripherals look stable as well so there really isn’t a hard and fast reason why he hasn’t won more games over that time – other than the Mets’ offense.

Speaking of offense, the Marlins have done very well on the road at 26-15 O-U and 4.5 runs per game. They had also gone 8-2 O-U in their last ten games coming into their game on the 4th of July versus the Mets.

These two teams currently sit behind the Nationals in the NL East, but are still well within striking range at 6 to 4.5 games back after Monday night’s game. Playing in the division with the Phillies and Braves will certainly help them in keeping up with the wild card as well. The unbalanced division schedule will give them more games against those weak teams.

With a poor start by Matt Harvey in their last game, the Mets will be forced to ride Steven Matz for likely more innings than usual since the bullpen will be taxed. With Chen also struggling with the home run ball for Miami this game could see some early scoring by the Mets too. 8 runs does not seem like too steep of a hill to climb in this situation. Shopping for the best value on the SBR live odds board, I found Pinnacle Sports was the beeting site offering the best price for this Free MLB pick

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Free MLB Pick: Over 8 -101
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle