Matz Vs. Scherzer Pitching Matchup Not to Disappoint Friday Night

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, June 15, 2017 8:43 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 15, 2017 8:43 PM UTC

It's easy to forget how good Steven Matz was last year for the Mets. As he comes off of an injury, we have two pitchers in the Top 20 of many statistical categories in 2016 facing off Friday -- a great recipe for a pitchers' duel.

2017 MLB Record: 106-93-6 (+4.05 Units, 1.74% ROI)

Washington Nationals At New York Mets

The New York Mets continue an important 4-game homestand with the Nationals on Friday as the Mets try to make up ground in the NL East Division. The Mets are coming off of two series wins in a row against the Braves and Cubs, while Washington comes into the series after a terrible 2-5 homestand. This will be the 15th game in a row for Washington without an off day, and it will have a total of 20 before their next one June 22. This schedule has been hard on the Nationals’ 27th-ranked bullpen, who carries a terrible 4.70 FIP and 15.7% HR/FB rate this year. The Mets haven’t been much better, with their 20th-ranked bullpen carrying a 4.43 FIP. For that reason, I’m going to focus on first 5 inning lines in this game as I analyze the pitching matchup.

Steven Matz gets his second start of the year for the Mets after coming off of elbow surgery in October. It is speculated that Matz would be on an inning limit this year, but his delay in starting his season will likely take care of that. After all, Matz has not pitched more that 150 innings in any season of his career. He is excellent when healthy, though, putting up a 3.39 FIP in 2016 over 132.1 innings pitched. That FIP mark would rank him 17th among all pitchers in baseball in 2017 and did rank him 16th in the MLB for pitchers logging over 100 innings last year.

In his first start of the season against the Braves, Matz scattered five hits and allowed only one earned run in 7 innings. He only struck out two batters but also only walked one in the win.

Matz will go up against Max Scherzer, who is second in MLB in FIP with a 2.80 mark. The only one better this season has been Chris Sale of the Red Sox. Scherzer is in elite company right now and has posted 12.17 K/9 and 2.06 BB/9 rates through his first 13 starts and 91.2 innings pitched. His BABIP of .238 is better than his career average, but he is also putting up career bests in hard-hit and line-drive rates. Those numbers are surely correlated. He’s also plain murdering right-handed batters this year, allowing a .124 batting average against them.

With a great pitching matchup on hand, it is hard to consider the 'under' as the 'over' is cashing at a 53/47% clip overall this year in the MLB. I’ll stick with a first 5 inning line then to avoid the bullpens.

Free MLB Pick: 'Under' 1st 5 (price TBA)Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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