The New York Mets have taken charge of the National League East, using superb starting pitching and just enough timely hitting to get where they need to go. They should be able to cash on the MLB betting lines on Friday against the hapless Philadelphia Phillies, right?
The New York Mets Can Win Because…
They are the better team with the in-form starting pitcher. First of all, the Mets are getting quality pitching throughout their rotation. They did play a struggling Baltimore team this past week, but the Orioles are still a talented team that was supposed to contend for a playoff spot this season. The Mets kept the Birds in check and won that series. They are continuing to move forward this season and should feel that they should take care of business against the lowly Phillies, whose prime years as a franchise are clearly behind them. Their days of fielding a top pitching staff are over, and their core has been broken up. They have not been able to make the right replacements.
Let’s use some tangible numbers here. New York starter Matt Harvey has been outstanding this season. He has a 5-0 record and, more importantly, a 2.41 ERA. Harvey wasn’t dominant in his outing earlier this season against the Phillies on April 14, but he put in a quality start – six innings, three runs allowed, with no walks. That’s not bad. Harvey has thrown (non-complete-game) shutouts in two other outings this season, including his most recent start on May 1 against Washington. He pitched 8 2/3 innings in a win over the New York Yankees on April 25. He should not be doubted here.
On the other hand, Philadelphia pitcher Cole Hamels has a 4.14 ERA this season. He did not pitch against the Mets earlier this season, but it’s clear that he’s not the same high-level pitcher he used to be when this team was making playoff appearances. He actually had a good month of April, leaving it with a 3.19 ERA, but in his last start, he got shelled by the Miami Marlins for six runs in six innings on 10 hits with three walks allowed. That’s very discouraging. Hamels has been great in three other starts, but he’s been poor in two other starts, in which he allowed at least four runs. Harvey has been consistent. Hamels has not. Do you need anything more from a betting perspective?
The Philadelphia Phillies Can Win Because…
They have reason to think that Hamels can bounce back from his last start against Miami. Here’s the thing about Hamels: He tosses in bad starts, but he pitches well the next time. He gave up four runs in five innings against Boston on April 6. In his next start, he gave up only one run. He gave up five runs in six innings on April 16 against Washington. In his next start, he gave up only one run, an unearned run. If Hamels can replicate this pattern of pitching well in his first start after a bad start, the Phillies can dig out a 2-1 win.
It is possible Hamels will pitch well, but it is likely Harvey will outduel him. And even though Hamels has been mostly reliable other than his latest outing, the Phillies have still dropped four of his six starts, providing him with just 10 runs of support in total. Take the Mets with your MLB picks here.
MLB Pick: Mets -124 at The Greek