The Phillies, after winning the NL East five years in a row, struggled mightily through 2012, and yet still made a late run to finish at .500. Will Philly return to contention this season?
The Mets, on the other hand, started very well last season, then faded badly. And before this season even started they lost the ace of their pitching staff. What's in store for them?
And how might we make some with our MLB picks on this series?
By: Ron Patrick
New York, behind seven very nice innings from starter Matt Harvey, dumped Philly Monday night 7-2. In doing so the Mets cashed in as +105 dogs on the MLB odds boards, while those of us who unwisely backed the Phillies got nicked at -115.
Phillies starter Roy Halladay, who put up a 4.49 ERA last year, has now allowed 12 runs in two starts this year. From now on we're going to be very leery of betting on Doc.
Harvey, meanwhile, is emerging as a real gem; after posting a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts as a rookie last year, he's now 2-0 this season, having allowed just one run and four hits through 14 innings, with four walks and 19 strikeouts.
The Mets went a hard-luck 3-7 in Harvey's starts last year; our guess is that W/L ratio will reverse itself this season.
Newcomer John Buck has provided a much-needed boost to the bottom half of the New York lineup; with his three-run bomb in the second inning Monday Buck has already hit three homers and knocked in 12 runs this season.
So New York is off to a 5-2 start to this season, while Philly is 2-5.
The Mets have also won nine of the last 11 games they've played at Citizens Bank Park.
Tuesday's Betting Odds
Most sportsbooks we consulted Tuesday morning opened Philly with Cliff Lee at around -165 over New York with Dillon Gee. But many of those books then quickly bumped the Phillies to upwards of -180. So apparently a decent portion of the betting public expects Philly to even this series Tuesday night.
Lee went 6-9 last year (in 30 starts) with a 3.16 ERA, struggling through a tough-luck first half before going real well in the second half. Also, in five starts vs. the Mets last year Lee held them to 12 ER through 35 innings. The Phillies went 3-2 in those games.
On the other side of Tuesday's arms battle Gee went 6-7 in an injury-abbreviated 2012 with a 4.10 ERA. In two starts against Philly Gee allowed six ER and 16 hits through 12 1/3 innings. The Mets split those games.This Spring Lee gave up 11 ER and 25 hits in 21 innings of prep work. But in his regular-season debut last Thursday against Atlanta Lee held the Braves scoreless on two hits, walking none and whiffing eight.
This Spring, coming back after missing the last two months last year because of a clot in his shoulder, Gee didn't impress, giving up 15 runs in 23 innings. But in his first start of this season Gee held the Padres to one run and three hits through 6 1/3 innings of a 2-1 Mets loss last Thursday.
Then again, San Diego is not exactly an offensive powerhouse. So far this season the Padres have hit one home run, and are averaging 2.3 runs per game.
New York went 21-38 vs. left-handed starting pitchers last year.
Free Pick for Tuesday
We whiffed on Halladay and the Phillies Monday night, so we now wonder whether to jump back on the horse with Philly or jump ship to New York for Tuesday.
As noted above, the line on Tuesday's game got bumped 15 cents toward Philly in the early betting. And while we don't like going with the flow, we still lean toward Lee and the Phillies. We also don't like giving that much on a 2-5 team. So we'll gamble a little and back Philly on the run line for our free MLB pick for Tuesday.
Pick: Take the Phillies at the +124 on the run line at Matchbook.
Stay tuned to this page for updates and free picks on this series as it progresses.
By: Ron Patrick
Mets-Phillies Betting Odds
Based on the live MLB odds early Monday morning, the best price we could find for Monday night's series opener (7 pm ET, ESPN) on Philly, with Roy Halladay hitting the hill, was the -113 offered at Pinnacle. New York, meanwhile, with Matt Harvey going, could be gotten at +105 at several baseball betting outlets.
Also, TheGreek was listing the Phillies at -165 to win this series, with the Mets getting +145 as the dogs.
What do the sportsbooks and bettors think about the long-term possibilities of these two teams? Philly went off last week as a 3/1 choice to win the NL East this season, with a regular-seasons win OVER/UNDER of 84; New York went off getting 15/1 to win the East, with a wins total of 75.
Mets-Phillies Series Set-Up
The Mets, after playing above .500 for a good part of last season, faded to 74-88, their fourth-straight losing season. Then over the off-season New York parted ways with, among many others, Cy Young Award winner RA Dickey, C Josh Thole and Scott Hairston, and didn't do a whole lot to replace them, at least not for the immediate future.
Then, on top of that, the Mets lost SP Johan Santana for the season to a shoulder situation in March.
But the New Yorkers (4-2) opened this season by taking two of three games at home from San Diego, then over the weekend took two of three at home from Miami. Sunday the Mets rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Marlins 4-3.
On the other side of this National League East match-up the Phillies stumbled through an injury-plagued 2012, but rallied late to finish at 81-81. Over the winter Philly parted ways with a handful or so of hangers-on, and added RP Mike Adams, OF Ben Revere and IF Michael Young.
So while the Phillies may be a bit on the aged side of the spectrum, we still believe they'll contend for a playoff spot this season.
However, Philly (2-4) began this season by dropping two of three games in Atlanta, then just lost two of three at home over the weekend to Kansas City. Sunday the Phillies and Cole Hamels blew an early 4-0 lead and lost 9-8.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
As a rookie last year Harvey started 10 games, putting up a 2.73 ERA and a 70/26 K/BB ratio over 59 innings. The Mets went just 3-7 in his starts last year, but that certainly wasn't his fault.
Harvey also had success against the Phillies last year, holding them to three ER and just seven hits through 13 1/3 innings.
Harvey began this season by allowing just one hit and whiffing 10 in seven scoreless innings of an 8-4 Mets win over San Diego last Wednesday.
Halladay, on the other hand, struggled with a sore shoulder for a large part of last season, posting a 4.49 ERA over 25 starts, then had a poor Spring, allowing 11 runs in 16 1/3 innings. He then got bombed in his regular-season debut last Wednesday versus Atlanta for five runs and six hits in just 3 1/3 innings. Somewhat strangely, he also struck out nine Braves over that short span.
Last year Halladay made one start against New York, holding the Mets to two runs and five hits through seven innings.
Out in the bullpen New York relievers combined for a 4.65 ERA last year, which ranked second-worst in all of baseball. So far this season the Mets pen has allowed seven ER through 17 2/3 innings.
Mets-Phillies Betting Trends
New York took the season series from Philly last year 10 games to eight.
The totals leaned toward the OVERS in this series last year by a lopsided 13-5 margin.
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 8-4 in Mets and Phillies games this season.
Mets-Phillies Free MLB Pick for Monday
We're certainly leery of Halladay's recent form, and Harvey looks dangerous. But we're also leery of the Mets in general, especially the bullpen. So in hoping Doc can keep Philly in the game into the seventh inning or so we like the home team to take Monday's series opener.
By: Ron Patrick
Wednesday's Mets-Phillies Update
These two teams have split the first two games of this series, following Philly's 8-3 victory Tuesday. The Phillies touched up Mets starter Dillon Gee for seven runs through three innings, banging out three homers in the third inning alone.
Cliff Lee posted a second-straight solid outing for Philly, allowing just two ER through 8 2/3 innings, as the Phillies won as -175 favorites for our MLB picks.
And to our delight Philly covered on the run line at a price of +124.
So with the Mets at 5-3 on the season and the Phillies at 3-5 the teams will play a series rubber match Wednesday night (7:05 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
Philly, with Kyle Kendrick slated to start, was listed early as a -130 favorite over New York with Jeremy Hefner, but several books then dropped that price to around -125.
The OVER/UNDER opened at 8.5 at most places, and that number had held steady in the early betting.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Kendrick, after going 11-12 with a 3.90 ERA last year, lost his 2013 season debut last week to Kansas City, throwing four scoreless innings, then getting nicked for five runs over the next two innings. In the
fifth he gave up a two-out bloop single that drove in two runs, and in the sixth he left with two outs and the bases loaded, only to have reliever Jeremy Horst give up a bases-clearing triple.
The Philly bullpen then proceeded to give up eight runs on its own in a 13-4 loss.
Kendrick made three appearances vs. New York last season, allowing seven ER and 12 hits through 10 innings.
Hefner went 4-7 last year as a rookie with a 5.09 ERA, allowing 110 hits in 94 innings. He made three appearances against Philly last year; one went well, while the other two did not. Overall, in 7 1/3 innings vs. the Phillies last season, Hefner got rocked for 13 ER and 17 hits.
In his season debut last Friday Hefner held Miami to one run and five hits through six innings. But he got zero run support, and the bullpen then got bombed in a game New York eventually lost 7-5.
Mets-Phillies Betting Trends
The OVER/UNDERS are a combined 12-4 in Mets and Phillies games this season.
Free MLB Pick for Wednesday
We had a winner with Philly on the run line Tuesday, which helped take the sting out of losing with the Phillies Monday night.
For Wednesday we give Kendrick the edge in the pitching match-up, and we're encouraged by the way the Philly bats banged the ball around Tuesday. So we're leaning toward the home team to take the rubber match of this series, at a reasonable price.
Pick: Take the Phillies at the -121 offered at Pinnacle.