The San Francisco Giants and New York Mets are both barely above .500 in the National League. They’re trying to catch division leaders in the National League West and East, but they’re also trying to catch the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, the two teams currently in line to get the National League wild card berths. They square off in an intriguing matchup on the MLB lines on Monday.
Both teams are not really moving upward over an extended period of time. The Mets were swept by the Cubs earlier in the week, and the Giants had a terrible weekend in Washington against the Nationals and enter on a six-game losing streak. New York did rebound a little bit over the weekend by taking two out of three from the Dodgers in Los Angeles, but the Mets remain a team that has big concerns in terms of scoring. The Mets scored just one run in 29 innings when they got swept by the Cubs at home. They’re dealing with a few injuries, but that doesn’t quite explain the total power outage on this team, something which surfaces far too often for the liking of manager Terry Collins.
The Giants’ offense was shut down by the Nationals this past weekend. The Giants managed just one run on Friday and Sunday against the Nationals’ starters, Gio Gonzalez (Friday) and Jordan Zimmermann (Sunday). On Saturday, they were blown out, as their own ace, Madison Bumgarner, got rocked in the first inning for several runs. The Giants come back home to San Francisco limping and uncertain of themselves. Neither team is breathing a lot of optimism at this point.
Jonathon Niese gets the call for the Mets in their six-man starting rotation, which is unique among major league clubs this season. The concept of a six-man rotation is designed to get starters more rest each time they take the mound. It is clear that Niese is getting progressively more comfortable with the idea. He has an ordinary 3.90 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP, but he’s been getting better with each start. Just look at the sequence for him: On May 30, five runs in four innings. On June 5, three runs in six innings. On June 11, with five days’ rest, four runs (but only two earned) in seven innings. On June 17, again with extended rest, three runs in seven innings. On June 23, two runs in six innings. On June 30, one run in seven innings. Niese is in a groove.
San Francisco starter Chris Heston no-hit the Mets on June 9. Since then, he’s basically been a six-inning, three-run-per-game pitcher, throwing 23 2/3 innings and giving up 11 runs. His ERA stands at 3.78, his WHIP at 1.23. He has better numbers than Niese, but he’s not making clear progress.
What’s The Pick for Mets vs. Giants?
The Mets just aren’t a good choice when Niese is on the mound as they’ve dropped eight of his last nine outings. They’ve only scored 22 runs to support him in that span. Combined with the fact that the Giants are slumping and also played a Sunday night game, then had to fly across the country to play this game at home, I’m going to look for an under with my MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Under at 5Dimes