NY Mets vs. LA Angels Game 3
By: Willie Bee
The stage appeared for Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver to break out of his early season doldrums with a winning performance in front of the Anaheim faithful, only that didn't happen.
All signs also pointed to New York Mets closer Jose Valverde continuing his comeback from a disastrous 2013 by picking up his third save of the season; instead, the veteran reliever registered his first blown save of 2014.
The end result was a 7-6 Mets win in 13 innings, the second consecutive game New York and Los Angeles played on past the ninth, and that has the clubs heading into Sunday's 3:35 PM (ET) matinee in Anaheim level at a victory apiece in their 3-game set. Former Halo Bartolo Colon will climb the hill for the Metropolitans while CJ Wilson makes his third start of the campaign for LA.
A quick glance at SBR's live MLB odds finds the Angels favored in the mid-130s to mid-140s range. Sunday's scoreboard tally is 7.5 runs, leaning high at some betting outlets, low at others.
Colon Returns To Scene Of His Prime
A lot of credit for Saturday's win goes to the lower third of New York's batting order where Juan Lagares, Anthony Recker and Omar Quintanilla combined for seven of the Mets' 11 hits and drove in six of their runs. Recker had three of those ribbies, including a solo shot in the 13th that proved to be the winner.
Considering how often Colon has moved around in his career, it's not difficult for him to face a team he once played for. His days in Anaheim were some of his best...and some of his worst. The best included a 21-8 record and AL Cy Young Award in 2005.
The beefy Dominican tangled with his old club often the past two seasons while part of Oakland's rotation, winning four of five starts vs. the Halos with an impressive 1.47 ERA. Colon went 2-1 in three starts on this mound with a 1.52 ERA the past two years.
Angels Slip Below
.500 with Saturday's Setback
Los Angeles is off to a 1-4 start to the home portion of the schedule, the lone triumph in Friday's 11-inning decision vs. the Mets. The Angels built a 3-1 lead in the sixth inning of Saturday's tilt, but Weaver and the bullpen couldn't hold it and Raul Ibañez's 9th-inning homer wasn't enough to push them into the winner's circle.
Wilson is coming off a dandy performance in Houston this past Monday, going eight strong innings in a 9-1 pasting of the Astros. The lefty from nearby Newport Beach was the one who got pasted at home vs. Seattle in his first start (5.2 IP, 6 ER), and will be making his first career start against the Mets this afternoon. Wilson saw them once in 2008 as a reliever, earning a rather shaky save in that appearance.
We've seen the first two matchups go past the total, but I like the 'under' in Game 3 for my free MLB pick to finish off the series.
My Pick: Mets-Angels Under 7.5 (-110)
Season: 11-10 (+0.40)
NY Mets vs. LA Angels Game 2
By: Willie Bee
One thing I have learned over the past 20 years is if you give him enough time, New York Mets manager Terry Collins will destroy a bullpen.
It may still be early on the 2014 MLB schedule, but Collins is doing his best to wear out his relief corps already. You can blame some of it on his starting rotation in New York, but Collins is the primary culprit and it could have the Mets set up for a big problem Saturday when they continue their weekend series with the Los Angeles Angels.
First pitch in Anaheim is scheduled for 9:05 PM (ET) and will be delivered by the Halos' Jered Weaver. Jonathon Niese is up next in Collins' rotation. The Angels are priced from the mid 150s to mid 160s on SBR's live baseball odds, and a 7.5 run total is leaning to the 'under.'
Playing By The Book
Costs Mets In Opener
New York fell 5-4 Friday, the winning run coming home on a walk-off hit batsman in the 11th inning. With one out and Angels DH Raul Ibañez on third, Collins ordered the next two batters walked intentionally to set up a force at every base, a fairly common strategy by many managers, and one that backfired this time when Mets reliever Jeurys Familia plunked Hank Conger.
Familia was the fifth reliever Collins summoned from his 'pen, and his final toss was his 51st for the game after the four previous relievers combined to throw 44 pitches. Collins burned through three relievers just to get through the eighth, and still had two more arms -- John Lannan and Jose Valverde -- left.
The Mets' bullpen has worked nearly 12 innings the past three games, and that could mean Niese has to stay out on the mound a little longer than Collins would like tonight. The lefthander is making just his second start after beginning the season on the DL, and his high pitch count last year was 117.
Weaver Looks To
Bounce Back From Long Ball Beating
Angels skipper Mike Scioscia used four relievers in Friday's tilt, but thanks to a day off on Thursday, everyone in his bullpen should be available. Scioscia also has the luxury of having Weaver on the mound, the big righthander working at least six innings in 20 of his 24 assignments last season.
Weaver is coming off a rough outing in Houston six days ago when the Astros popped four home runs among their five hits against the Halos hurler. He didn't issue a walk in the game, which might have been his downfall since fishing near the strike zone might have been a better strategy than just throwing strikes to a free-swinging lineup.
Rookie umpire Sean Barber is scheduled to work the plate tonight, and he has already generated some controversy in his previous two games behind the dish. Both games had a 7.5 run total, like this contest, and the results split.
I'm running with the Angels in this one, and sending my free MLB pick out on the run line to knock off a little bit of the juice.
My Pick: Angels -1.5 (+135)
NY Mets vs. LA Angels Game 1
By: Willie Bee
East meets West on Friday when the New York Mets travel to Anaheim for a weekend series against the Los Angeles Angels.
One of three interleague series for baseball bettors to ponder and play the next few days, Game 1 of the set has a 10:05 PM (ET) start time at Angel Stadium. Dillon Gee is slated for New York opposite LA's Tyler Skaggs, and the Angels are favored in the -160 to -165 range after opening about 20¢ lower. SBR's live MLB odds show an 8 run total that is fetching a little extra on the low side of that number.
We have seen an interesting and consistent trend in this interleague matchup, albeit a small 12-game sample size. The Mets and Angels have split those 12 games winning six apiece, and while that isn't interesting, the manner in which they won the games is as the visitors have taken two of three in each of the four previous series. Not only have the visitors taken two of three, but in all four series, they won the first and third games.
The most recent matchup came in 2011 at Citi Field, and 'over' bettors cashed twice along with Halo backers.
Mets Take Aim At
3rd-Straight Series Win
New York (4-5 straight up, -0.4 units) was broomed by the Washington Nationals in the season-opening series, but has since bounced back to win four of the last six games in taking series vs. the Cincinnati Reds and Atlanta Braves. The Mets are having a little trouble scoring runs with their 3.78 RPG clip about half a run below the MLB average, and about the same margin under what they're allowing each game.
Gee has yet to decision in either of his two starts this year, each lasting exactly 100 pitches and New York splitting the contests. Friday will be the first time the Texas native has faced the Angels, and the Mets won two of his three interleague assignments in 2013, Gee posting a fine 2.65 ERA in those efforts vs. the Tigers, Yankees and Royals.
Angels To Be Without Hamilton For Couple Of
Los Angeles (4-5, -2.8) is returning home from a 6-game road trip that went through Houston and Seattle, and the Angels managed to win four of those games, three of the dubyas coming against the lowly Astros. They enjoyed a day off on Thursday, and Friday's tilt vs. the Mets will be their first game against a team outside the AL West Division.
The Halos are also playing their first series since losing outfielder Josh Hamilton to a torn thumb ligament. Hamilton was injured sliding into first base in Tuesday's loss to the Mariners, and is expected to miss at least six weeks. Collin Cowgill took Hamilton's spot in left field for Wednesday's contest, and the Angels called up JB Shuck to take his spot on the roster.
Skaggs was outstanding in his first start of 2014, working eight innings and giving up just one unearned run to get the win in his Angels debut after being acquired from Arizona in the offseason. The southpaw's effort did come against Houston, however, so we'll need to see how he fares against some of the tougher lineups around the majors. Friday will be his first career start at the Big A, as well as his first career assignment vs. the Mets.
Weather shouldn't be an issue for any game in this series; Friday's forecast calls for a rather humid 68º at game time with a light WSW breeze (out to right-center). I'm going to ride the series trend in the opener with a free MLB pick on the underdogs.
My pick: Mets +145
Season: 9-8 (+0.40)