The Mets begin their switch to a six-man rotation on Wednesday in their series finale in San Diego -- is this something more teams might change to in order to avoid pitcher injuries? The Padres are -147 on MLB odds with a total of 6.5 runs.
In Tuesday night's Game 2 between these teams, the Padres were expecting to welcome back first baseman Yonder Alonso off the 15-day disabled list. He has been rehabbing a bruised shoulder that landed him on the disabled list in early May. Alonso was off to a good start before going on the shelf, batting .333 with a homer and 10 RBIs in 87 at-bats. He and Justin Upton are the only players batting better than .300 on the team. San Diego needs as much offense as it can get as the Padres were shut out for the ninth time this season Monday against the Mets. That's by far the most in baseball. Last season, the Padres were shut out 19 times, tied with the Mariners for most in the major leagues. As MLB odds makers know, San Diego remains without outfielder/first baseman Wil Myers (.291, five HRs, 19 RBIs). He hasn't played since May 10 to due wrist troubles. The team is hoping he can take batting practice before Wednesday's game but Myers isn't likely back for a couple of weeks.
The Mets remain without two starters: third baseman David Wright and catcher Travis d'Arnaud. Wright hasn't played since April 14 and is still weeks away due to spinal stenosis, which sounds scary. D'Arnaud hasn't played since April 19 but is progressing and might be able to resume playing in minor-league games this week.
Last week, the Mets announced they would go to a six-man rotation once right-hander Dillon Gee was activated off the disabled list and that will happen Wednesday. I believe this is the wave of the future with how many pitchers have been going down the past few years with serious arm or shoulder problems that have required Tommy John surgery. The Mets are very familiar with that procedure as talented youngsters Matt Harvey (20/1 on Bovada's updated NL Cy Young odds) and Jacob deGrom (last year's NL Rookie of the Year) both have had it. Zack Wheeler had it this spring and will miss this season. So to save as much wear and tear on Harvey, deGrom and fellow highly touted right-hander Noah Syndergaard, the team plans to stick with six starters into mid-August. It was either that or the Mets were going to pull Harvey, deGrom and Syndergaard after five innings of their starts or stash them on the DL for a few weeks to keep those innings down. The only downside to this is obviously either one fewer guy in the bullpen or on the bench. I think you could see 26-man active rosters within the next three years in baseball (along with the DH in the National League) and more teams going to six-man rotations. Teams are allowed a 26th man on days they have a doubleheader.
As noted, Gee (0-2, 3.86 ERA) does get the call here. He has been sidelined since May 3 with a groin injury. He now slots behind Syndergaard and ahead of Harvey in the six-man group. Gee pitched well in his final three starts before getting hurt, allowing two runs or fewer in all of them. Justin Upton has faced him more than any other Padre with seven hits (two doubles and homer) in 26 at-bats. Will Venable is 2-for-9 with a double and homer. Matt Kemp is 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Alonso has two singles in six at-bats.
San Diego has to be thrilled with what James Shields has given the team thus far as a $75 million free-agent signing. Shields (6-0, 3.69 ERA) is the only player in the NL with at least six wins and no losses and is second in the NL with 88 strikeouts. San Diego has won his past six overall. He hasn't allowed more than three runs in the past four. This will be his first start vs. the Mets as a National Leaguer. Michael Cuddyer is 7-for-17 with two doubles, a homer and five RBIs off him. Maybe Curtis Granderson will get this one off. The Mets' outfielder has just seven hits and 14 strikeouts in 59 at-bats off Shields.
MLB Free Picks: Definitely lean San Diego with your MLB picks, probably even at +160 on the runline at 5Dimes. Go 'over' that small total. The 'over' is 6-0 in Shields' past six vs. teams with a winning record. The 'over' is 6-2 in the Mets' past eight vs. a right-hander.