MLB Picks: Go 'Under' In Terrific Nationals vs. Mets Pitching Matchup

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 11:05 AM GMT

Max Scherzer takes the mound for the Nationals against Noah Syndergaard. The Mets are -119 on MLB odds with a total of 6.5 runs. Read on to get our Free MLB Pick on this exciting game!

What You Need To Know
Kind of hard to believe, but Tuesday is the first meeting between the Nationals and Mets this season. The only NL divisional matchup that has not been played so far this season is Nationals-Mets.

Everyone expects them to battle for the NL East lead all season. The Nats (23-15) are currently in first with New York (21-16) in third. The Mets just completed a West Coast trip at 4-7, losing their final four games and totaling just nine runs in them. Washington brings a two-game skid into this game as it begins a six-game trip.

This offseason, the Nationals signed Mets free agent second baseman Daniel Murphy; New York had given him a one-year qualifying offer at $15.8 million but he declined it. Murphy, last year's NLCS MVP, got $37.5 million over three years from the Nats. After David Wright, Murphy had been the second-longest-tenured Met. He debuted with the team on Aug. 2, 2008. It has been a very wise signing thus far -- it cost Washington its 2016 first-round draft pick -- as Murphy leads the majors with a .400 average.

These are two of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Washington ranks second in team ERA at 2.97 and New York is third at 3.09. The Nationals and Mets are currently both even money to win the NL East, which the Mets did in 2015.


 

Probable Pitchers
It's former AL Cy Young winner Scherzer (4-2, 4.15) for Washington and he comes in off one of the best starts of his career, tying the big-league record with 20 strikeouts last Wednesday against Detroit, his former team. Scherzer had a shot at 21 with two outs in the top of the ninth and Tigers catcher James McCann at the plate. He had struck out three times already but was able to ground out this time. The only other pitchers to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game are Roger Clemens (twice), Kerry Wood and Hall of Famer Randy Johnson. Scherzer threw 96 of 119 pitches for strikes, which is just absurd. Those 23 balls are by far the fewest in any 20-strikeout game. A total of 14 of the strikeouts were of the swinging variety.

Last season, Scherzer was 1-2 with a 1.82 ERA in four starts against the Mets. HIs last one was easily his best. It came on Oct. 3, 2015, at Citi Field, Scherzer's final start of the season. He no-hit the Mets with 17 strikeouts and no walks. No player had ever thrown a no-hitter with at least 17 strikeouts (including nine straight at one point) and no walks before. Only one Met reached base and that was on an error. That was Scherzer's second no-hitter of last year. He was the sixth pitcher with two in a season. Overall, the two teams combined for 35 strikeouts that day, a big league record for a nine-inning game. The Mets' Wright is 0-for-9 career off Scherzer. Curtis Granderson, who is in a major slump right now, is 7-for-23 against Scherzer with three doubles and a homer. Asdrubal Cabrera hits  .267 off Scherzer with 15 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. The 'under' is 11-5-3 on MLB odds in Scherzer's past 19 road starts.

As for Syndergaard, it wouldn't shock me if he were to join  Scherzer in the Cy Young club at some point in his career. Syndergaard (3-2, 2.53) beat the Dodgers in Los Angeles in his last start, going a season-high eight innings and allowing two runs, both solo homers. He struck out six and walked one. Most notable, however, from that game was that Syndergaard became the first pitcher to homer twice in a game since 2007. The only other Met to ever do it was Walt Terrell on Aug. 6, 1983, against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Last year as a rookie, Syndergaard was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts against Washington. He struck out 23 and allowed 14 hits in 20 innings. Anthony Rendon is 3-for-7 career against him with a homer. Bryce Harper has three singles in nine at-bats against him. Jayson Werth is 0-for-6 with two strikeouts. The 'under' is 4-1 on MLB picks in Syndergaard's past five Tuesday starts.

 

MLB Picks
Mets and 'under.' Washington is 2-5 in Scherzer's past seven against teams with a winning record. The Mets are 7-2 in Syndergaard's past nine series  openers. The 'under' is 4-0 in Scherzer's past four starts on five days of rest. The 'under' is 10-1 in Syndergaard's past 11 series openers.

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Free MLB Pick:  Mets -125 & Under 6½ -110
Best Line Offered:  at BetOnline & Heritage