The Mets took NLCS Game 1, but the Cubs send out Cy Young Award favorite Jake Arrieta trying to even up the series. Still, Noah Syndergaard can match him, so go ‘under’.
There is potential for a great pitching duel Sunday night in Game 2 of the NLCS as the Chicago Cubs try to gain a split of the first two games on the road by sending out the National League Cy Young Award favorite Jake Arrieta, but he has a tough mound opponent in fellow right-hander Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets from Citi Field in Flushing, NY at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS, with New York leading the best-of-seven series 1-1.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 5½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Mets Draw First Blood
The Mets drew first blood by winning Game 1 behind Matt Harvey 4-2 Saturday, as Harvey performed like the ace he was supposed to be at the start of the year now that his innings limit has gone out the window for the playoffs. What made that win even bigger for the Mets was that they beat the Cubs’ second starter Jon Lester, and now with the exception of games started by Arrieta like tonight, they should have a clear pitching advantage the rest of the way.
That makes this game especially crucial for the Cubs, although they did overcome being the losing MLB picks in Game 1 of their NLDS vs. the St. Louis Cardinals by sweeping the next three games, and that was with Arrieta having probably his worst start since the All-Star break! Still, we find it far-fetched to expect a similar streak vs. this great and deep Mets’ pitching staff, so even with the next three games at Wrigley Field we feel this is a must-win for Chicago.
Conditions Played a Factor
Arrieta was basically unhittable after the All-Star break going 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA, 0.73 WHIP and 113 strikeouts vs. just 23 walks in 107.1 innings including a no-hitter against the Dodgers, and he then followed up that sensational finish to the season by tossing a Complete Game four-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts vs. the Pirates at Pittsburgh in the Wild Card Playoff.
But then almost inexplicably, Jake allowed four earned runs on five hits while lasting just 5.2 innings vs. St. Louis in Game 3 of the NLDS. However, that outing may actually not have been inexplicable at all, as it was an unseasonably mild day for October in Chicago with the wind blowing out, and it was not as if Arrieta was the only pitcher to get hit hard in a game won by the Cubs anyway 8-6.
Look for a more typical outing under more “normal” conditions for Arrieta here, and remember also that he actually pitched better on the road this season than he did in Chicago, posting a minuscule 1.60 ERA and 0.87 WHIP while going 13-1 away from home. Jake faced the Mets twice this season and he allowed one run in eight innings on each occasion with the Cubs winning each contest by an identical 6-1 score, once at Wrigley and once here at Citi Field.
Relief Outing Should Not Hurt
As great as Arrieta is, Syndergaard certainly has the ability to at least match him here as on a Mets’ staff full of live young arms, nobody matches Syndergaard’s velocity as he averaged 96.5 MPH on his fastball during the season while topping out at 100.3 MPH! But even more impressive was the great control he displayed for such a young flame-thrower, as Syndergaard had a terrific ratio of 9.96 strikeouts vs. 1.86 walks per nine innings.
That helped lead to a 3.24 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 3.25 FIP, 2.91 xFIP and 3.1 WAR, so while Syndergaard did not have Arrieta-type numbers overall, standing in against him is not like a day at the beach either. And remember that Noah did he best pitching at home, going 7-2 with a 2.46 ERA, a microscopic 0.82 WHIP and 86 strikeouts vs. 10 measly walks here in Flushing.
Some may be concerned about the fact that Syndergaard pitched in relief in the deciding Game 5 vs. the Dodgers Thursday, displaying his electric stuff by hitting 100 MPH. We are not concerned at all though as he went just one inning in what probably would have been a “throw day” for him anyway, and he has now had two days off.
Trending the ‘under’
Finally, it should come as no surprise that both of these pitchers have been ‘under’ friendly this year. In fact, even with the Game 3 shootout in the NLDS, the ‘under’ is still 20-9-6 in all of Arrieta’s starts this year combining the regular season and playoffs. Meanwhile, the ‘under’ is 9-3 in all of Syndergaard’s home starts.
Yes, we understand that this is a tiny posted total, but it is there for a reason as we expect both pitchers to be on top of their games, which should result in an ‘under’ even at 5½ when the Chicago Cubs visit the New York Mets for Game 2 of the NLCS on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Cubs. Mets ‘under’ 5½ (-110)