After beginning the MLB betting season on the road for the first week, the New York Mets finally have their home opener Monday when they begin a 3-game set against the Phillies.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Even when they both suck, a series between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets is always entertaining.
Entertainment -- along with the opportunities for baseball bettors to add to their bankrolls -- might be all matchups between the Mets and Phillies offers this year with neither team expected to contend for the playoffs. The two will meet for the first of 19 times Monday in New York's home opener at Citi Field, first pitch slated for 1:10 PM (ET).
Jacob deGrom, last year's NL Rookie of the Year, will deliver that first toss, Aaron Harang opposing him for the Phillies. The price on New York climbed a bit overnight to the upper -170s, the MLB odds board showing 7 for the total.
It's the first of six series scheduled between the clubs in 2015, the Mets returning the visit to Philadelphia a little less than a month from now. The Phils own a 481-430 all-time record in the rivalry, but things are dead even the last six seasons at 55-55, each team 30-25 on the road to keep things level overall. New York did win five of nine last year last year at Citi Field where 'over' bettors went 6-3 and are 9-6 the last 15.
Both Teams Enter Series 3-3 On Young Season
The Mets could make me eat crow as far as the previous statement about their chances of contending for an National League playoff spot. New York ended spring training as a 7/2 choice to win the NL East, a distant second to Washington's 1/5 baseball futures odds. Philadelphia was going off at 85/1 then, and bringing up the rear in the entire Senior Circuit at 125/1 to win the pennant.
Philadelphia and New York start Monday just where they started last week -- at .500 on the season. Each team split their six games in Week 1, and each managed to take two of three from the favored Nationals along the way. The Phillies were home all week, losing two of the first three to the Red Sox.
New York began the week in DC, limiting the Nats to six runs in taking two of three before moving to Atlanta. The Braves won the first two to begin the season 5-0 before the Mets halted the early run Sunday with a 4-3 victory.
Both Hurlers Coming Off Good Season-Opening Starts
A veteran now of 14 seasons -- and 8 teams -- with 353 career starts to his credit, Harang enjoyed one of his very best to begin his Phillies career last Wednesday in the only game Philadelphia took in the series with Boston. He ended the 2013 campaign with a few starts for the Mets, and has seen them plenty in recent years, Monday's matchups his 14th vs. New York all-time and ninth at Citi Field, his teams 5-3 in the previous eight with Harang pitching to a 3.42 ERA.
deGrom, now in his first full season with all of 23 starts under his belt, took the loss in his season opener, though it was no fault of his. One bad pitch to Washington's Ryan Zimmerman in the first inning last Wednesday sealed a 2-1 win for the Nats and tough 'L' for the Floridian. The Mets won both of his starts vs. the Phils a year ago, deGrom allowing three earnies in an out over 13 frames.
It should be a mostly sunny afternoon in Queens, the thermometer climbing into the low-60s. It should also be pretty breezy with a 12-16 mph south wind (out to left-center).
I've never been a fan of the way Terry Collins manages his mound, especially the bullpen. Collins is already having to shake things up after closer Jenrry Mejia first went on the DL with an elbow injury then got popped for a bad drug test and suspended for 80 games. Jeurys Familia assumingly steps into the closer's role now, and the Mets are rumored to be checking on Rafael Soriano who remains a man without a team.
MLB Pick: Phillies-Mets Under 7 +105 at BookMaker