Expect Offensive Fireworks in Mets-Nationals July 4 Early Start

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Monday, July 3, 2017 7:46 PM GMT

If you are betting baseball on Independence Day, you better be ready for an early start with the Mets and the Nationals getting going just after 11 a.m. ET from D.C. 

Tuesday is the middle encounter of three-game set, and Washington has been undistinguished in its recent play with a mixture of meager pitching and offense. New York has been showing signs of life with its latest upsurge and need to keep churning, being seven games out for the last wild-card slot. What should you consider for this early July 4 divisional rivalry against the MLB odds?

 

Pitching Matchup: Lugo Vs. Ross

For a team with so many pitching questions, many due to injury, Seth Lugo was a breath of fresh air at the right time. After overcoming elbow ailment that kept him on the sidelines for two months, Lugo made four starts in June and was 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA. The right-hander is curveball reliant and has some of the best spin rates in the majors. Like anybody that tosses this many breaking balls, you are going to toss enough cement mixers and give up hits.

More was expected from Washington's Joe Ross (4-3, 5.17 ERA) than he's delivered. Opponents are wrapping Ross for a .301 batting average (.263 is career mark against) and largely it has been a lack of execution on his part. The high ERA hides the kind of improvement he's made, giving up two or fewer earned runs in four of his past five outings and lowering his ERA just over a run. To beat New York, Ross will need his mid-90s heater and curveball around the knees and working the corners.

 

Mets Need More Base-Runners

With baseball flying out of ballparks at a record pace, the Mets have been among most willing participants, ranked third in the National League right behind Washington. Because run prevention has been a season-long conundrum, it would help New York if they had more base-runners to go with the dingers and being No. 8 in OBP in the league does not help. And yes, we are talking to you Jose Reyes, Travis d'Arnaud and Curtis Granderson.

In many articles here and other sports websites, the focus of the Washington offense has centered on Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy and it should, being the best group of three hitters bunched together on any manager's lineup card in 2017. Still, you don't average a NL-best 5.5 runs a game with just three sticks. This team has benefited also from 3B Anthony Rendon having his best season ever and OF Michael Taylor also coming through wherever Dusty Baker places him in the lineup.

 

Betting Odds, Head To Head & Bullpen Numbers

Sportsbooks have Washington at around a -160 favorite with total of 9.5. Coming into the series, the Nats held a 7-3 edge and the 'over' was 6-2-2. New York overall was 11-10 at Nationals Park since 2015, with the 'over' 11-8-2. Both bullpens are good for TV ratings and alcohol sales for the respective squads, with the Metropolitans next to last in NL ERA and the Nats in the basement.

 

The Winner Is ...

Though both starting pitchers are making strides, they are not bullet-proof and both these offenses can score in bunches with the long ball. Add in two combustible bullpens and I have no issue taking the 'over' for MLB picks on the first ball game of July 4.

Free MLB Pick: 'Over' 9.5Best Line Offered: BetDSI

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