There is a low total in Game 3 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and Mets, but Brett Anderson did not pitch well down the stretch while Matt Harvey had his innings limited.
There could be a higher scoring game than the posted total suggests when the scenery for this NLDS shifts to the East Coast Monday night as southpaw Brett Anderson and the Los Angeles Dodgers make the cross-country trip to visit right-hander Matt Harvey and the New York Mets for Game 3 from Citi Field in Flushing, NY at 8:37 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS, with the best-of-five series now tied at 1-1.
The posted total at Bet365 is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -115.
Mets Got Split in Los Angeles
A strong case can be made that these are the two best pitching staffs in the entire playoffs, and it was the Mets that did what they had to do immediately by beating Clayton Kershaw and stealing Game 1 in Los Angeles 3-1 behind a typically strong performance from Jacob deGrom. New York then nearly pulled off the impossible by beating Kershaw and Zack Greinke in back-to-back games in Los Angeles, but the umpires may have thwarted that bid.
The Mets hit two home runs in the second inning off of Greinke and still led 2-1 in the seventh inning when the hard slide by Chase Utley that broke the leg of Ruben Tejada turned the game around. Utley was originally called out on the play, but the call was overturned by replay despite Utley seeming to be clearly out of the baseline and certainly not touching second base. The next batter flew out, which would have ended the inning had the original call stood.
Instead it was just the second out and Los Angeles went on to score four two-out runs on the way to being the 5-2 wining MLB pick. Still, while a sweep would have been great, the Mets are probably happy with a split as they can now win this series by taking the next two games at home in Citi Field.
Anderson Weak Link after Big Two
There is a big drop-off in the starting rotation for the Dodgers after Kershaw and Greinke, as they now turn to the southpaw Anderson, who struggled toward the end of the year. Granted Anderson ended the regular season with a Quality Start over the San Francisco Giants allowing two earned run and four hits in 7.2 innings of a meaningless game, but that was after allowing 11 earned runs in 8.2 inning his prior two starts with the Dodgers trying to clinch the division.
Anderson did finish with a semi-decent 3.69 ERA, but luck was on his side as he pitched around baserunners quite a bit with a pedestrian 1.33 WHIP and he had a weak command ratio with only 116 strikeouts in 180.1 innings vs. 46 walks, leading to a 3.94 FIP. Remember also that Anderson pitches his home games at pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium, whereas Citi Field has become more neutral this year after being a pitcher’s paradise due to the fences being brought in.
The Mets may have batted just .222 vs. southpaws over the entire season, but they were much better after acquiring Yoenis Cespedes at the trading line, as he went on to bat .287 with a .942 OPS while hitting 14 home runs and driving in 54 in just 57 games in a New York uniform! Thus look for Anderson to return to his poor form here in a pressure situation after his one good tune-up last time out after the Dodgers had clinched.
May Not Need to Give Up Many
This is the game in which the Mets enjoy their biggest pitching advantage of this series and we expect them to get the job done. However, we have now interest in laying the prohibitive MLB odds they are favored by here at home, so we are instead opting for the ‘over’. We have already pointed out that we expect the Mets to score runs against Anderson, and it just might be enough runs where Harvey may not even need to allow too much for an ‘over’.
Harvey turned out to be close to his usual self this season while making a fairly quick comeback following Tommy John surgery, as he finished 13-8 but with a fine 2.71 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 188 strikeouts in 189.1 innings vs. 37 walks. However, the Mets did monitor his innings the final month of the season as he has tossed just 17.2 innings since September 8th.
Other than trying to protect Harvey after the surgery, an ulterior motive for the Mets was to have Harvey fresh for this spot in the playoffs right now, where he will undoubtedly no longer be on a pitch count. However, that brings to question whether or not Harvey will be his usual self in the sixth or especially seventh inning after not go that far in over a month.
An ‘over’ Series History
Finally, this has been a relatively high scoring head-to-head series in general with the ‘over’ going 18-7-2 in the last 27 meetings overall and 9-3-1 in the last 13 meetings in New York. Also, Anderson has had trouble putting good outings back-to-back with the ‘over’ going 4-1 in his last five starts following a Quality Start in his last appearance, and the ‘over’ is also 8-3 in the Mets’ last 11 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
We are expecting Anderson to continue he pattern on being unable to piece together good outings, and given how relatively low this posted total is, it should mean Harvey may not even need to allow too many runs for the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Mets to sneak ‘over’ in Flushing in Game 3 of the NLDS on Monday.
MLB Pick: Dodgers, Mets ‘over’ 6½ (-115)