The St. Louis Cardinals opened the second half of the season with a win over the New York Mets. They'll meet again Saturday night with the Cards favored on the MLB odds board.
Jason's 2015 record as of July 17: 32-25, plus-7.41 units ML; 0-3, minus-3.30 units Total
If the second half of the 2015 regular season is all about fading the New York Mets, then we're off to a flying start. The Mets (+127 away) lost 3-2 to the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday; they'll meet again on Saturday (7:15 p.m. ET) in a very interesting pitching matchup between Bartolo Colon and John Lackey. As we go to press, the baseball odds are with the Cards at –145. But wait, isn't Colon one of our heroes here at the home office? Can we possibly be objective about our MLB picks with him on the mound?
Do the Bartman
Of course we can. Colon (3.57 FIP) has made it easy for us the past five years now, pitching with remarkable consistency since getting stem cells injected in his right shoulder back in 2010. How long until the rest of us can get some of that special sauce? Unfortunately, the Mets haven't been cashing in lately, dropping each of Colon's last four starts to fall to 9-8 (+1.34 units) on the season. That's despite Colon allowing just two runs combined in his last two outings. New York was shut out both times.
The Mets went into the All-Star break ranked No. 18 in hitting at 9.6 WAR, and if you narrow that down to the past 30 days, they fall to No. 24 overall (1.7 WAR). The bullpen takes a similar dip, falling from No. 10 (2.2 WAR) on the season to No. 17 (0.5 WAR) over the past month. Abandon ship~!
As for the Cardinals, Lackey (3.45 FIP) has pitched very well since coming over from the Boston Red Sox last year, but he's had some bad luck of his own against the MLB betting odds, sitting at +0.53 units on a team record of 10-8. Lackey allowed just three earned runs in his last three starts combined – St. Louis went 1-2 thanks to some unusually poor bullpen work. The Cards rank No. 5 in the majors in relief pitching (2.9 WAR), as well as No. 7 in hitting (13.2 WAR). Regression, anyone?
Lackey might be relatively fresh on the senior circuit, but he's quite familiar to two Mets hitters in particular: Michael Cuddyer (.661 OPS) and Curtis Granderson (.757 OPS). We're once again suggesting Granderson for your fantasy team; he's only 48% owned in Yahoo leagues for whatever reason, and he's 9-for-37 lifetime against Lackey with a .820 OPS. Cuddyer sat out Friday's game and has been dealing with a balky left knee, so he's not a reliable option at this point.
While we're recommending Granderson for fantasy purposes, we'll have to stick with the game plan and fade the Mets for our baseball picks. Keep the bet size small, though, and may the sphere be with you.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Cardinals –144 at The Greek