Mets, deGrom Heavy Chalk in Series Opener vs. Nationals

Monday, April 16, 2018 1:16 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 16, 2018 1:16 PM UTC

No April series defines a season, but Washington -- the favorite to win the NL East -- enters New York in a must-win mindset, sitting six games back of the red-hot Mets.

<h2 style="text-align:center;"><a href="" title="Nationals vs. Mets">MLB Monday: Nationals vs. Mets</a></h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Free MLB Pick: Mets -171</h2><h2 style="text-align:center;">Best Line Offered: <a href=";book=Pinnacle" rel="nofollow" title="Top Rated Sportsbook">Pinnacle</a></h2><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3387196, "sportsbooksIds":[238,19,169,1096,93], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p> </p><h2>Nationals (7-9)</h2><p>The Nationals are in a tailspin, going 3-9 after winning their first four games to open the season. Cold bats are the problem. Washington is scoring just 3.2 runs on 8.9 hits per contest in the 12-game span. A lack of power and timely contact sees the club leaving 8.0 men on base on average, 2.5 more than its opponents do.</p><p>Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his Nationals debut tonighgt, taking the rotation spot from struggling A.J. Cole. This is possibly good news for Washington bettors. Cole has gifted 12 runs through 9 frames this season, and the team is 6-13 SU all-time in support.</p><p>Hellickson, signed to a minor league deal in March, tallied a 5.43 ERA in 164 innings of work last season between the Orioles and Phillies. The current Mets roster owns a .861 on-base percentage against. Yoenis Cespedes, Jose Reyes, and Asdrubal Cabrera have inflicted the most damage in their careers, combining for 5 HRs, 20 RBI, and a .360 average (27-of-75).</p><p>The sinkerballer has made four career stats at Citi Field, all with the Phillies. The team went 1-3 overall with Hellickson and the pen accounting for a whopping 7.8 runs per game. The "over" hit in each contest with a 12.0 average score sailing past a 7.8 total. Expect relief early. In addition to this being his first action of 2018, Hellickson tallied fewer than 91 pitches in each prior start.</p><p> </p><h2>Mets (12-2)</h2><p>The Mets own an early six-game lead over the Nationals in the NL East thanks to a scorching 12-2 start. The lineup owns a pedestrian .731 OPS, which ranks 14th in the bigs. A veteran team, however, is playing strong defense and taking advantage of opportunities at the plate to rack up the wins. Their secondary average, for example, which measures the sum of extra bases gained on hits, walks, and stolen bases, equals .297, ninth in the bigs.</p><p>Strong pitching is the primary factor to the blazing start. It ranks third in MLB with a .209 opponent batting average and second with 3.07 runs allowed. Jacob deGrom (2-0, 3.06 ERA) looks to lower these numbers further in his fifth start of the season. The right-hander already topped the Nats and ace Stephen Strasburg 8-2 in Washington on April 5 earlier this season. deGrom whiffed five while surrendering a single run on 4 hits through 6.0 innings of work.</p><p>[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;deGrom has it working today as he went 6 innings and 5 Ks to help &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@IzzyCarpenter&lt;/a&gt; make up a lot of ground and take the lead today &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— GC Fantasy Baseball (@GCFBL) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;April 6, 2018&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</p><p>The Mets are 29-15 SU all-time behind deGrom as home chalk at Citi Field. A string of abysmal offensive performances sours the record. Ten times New York has failed to score more than a single run in this spot, winning just once. When deGrom gets at least two crossing the plate, the Mets are 28-6 SU laying points behind the flamethrower in Queens.</p><p>After putting up 8 runs against deGrom in their first test at Citi Field in April 2015, the Nationals have failed to cross the plate more than three times in five following matchups. The Mets yield just 2.8 runs on 6.3 hits per game behind the right-hander in this spot. The "under" has hit in the last five as well, the teams combining for 5.2 runs overall. With possible cold, wet playing conditions, this encounter invites betting the total comes up short.</p><p> </p><h2>The Pick</h2><p>Since August 2016, Hellickson’s teams are 5-13 SU when he takes the hill as a road underdog. The right-hander and his relief gift 5.0 runs per game. Generating many swings and misses is an issue, posting just 5.7 strikeouts on average. The Mets will put the ball in play often and continue their string of manufacturing smart runs. deGrom only needs a skosh of offensive support to bury opponents, and he gets it here against a spot starter. The chalk is heavy at -170 on the <a href="" title="MLB Odds">MLB odds board</a>, and we’re reluctant to lay the run line in any game at pitcher-friendly Citi Field. Use this <a href="" title="Free MLB Picks">MLB pick</a> as a solid foundation for a parlay bet.</p>
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