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Carlos Carrasco of the New York Mets looks on from the mound during the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Carlos Carrasco of the New York Mets looks on from the mound during the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images via AFP.

The New York Mets look to get right with the Atlanta Braves half a game on their heels for the top spot in the NL East with a four-game series against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. Here are our picks for Thursday’s series opener of Pirates-Mets at Citi Field.

After being swept by the Chicago Cubs, the Mets find themselves on a three-game losing skid and 4-6 across their last 10 contests. As the regular season winds down, it’s crunch time with the Braves on their tails for first place in the division.

With a four-game series against the 55-88 Pirates, every game is a must win for New York. Currently, the Pirates are playing the best stretch of baseball they've played all year after sweeping the Cincinnati Reds in a four-game series and outscoring them 23-8. 

Here are my MLB picks and predictions for Thursday's game between the Pirates and Mets (odds via FanDuel SportsbookBetMGM, and DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 scale).

Pirates vs. Mets Game Info

Date/Time: Thursday Sept. 15, 7:20 p.m. ET
TV: FOX
Location: Citi Field, Flushing, NY
Weather: 75 degrees, 0% chance of precipitation, 3-mph wind

Pirates vs. Mets Odds Analysis

The Pirates are the heavy moneyline favorites, ranging from –250 at BetMGM to -275 at FanDuel. Both tickets and cash have come in overwhelmingly in favor of the Mets, with 87% of bets accounting for 95% of the handle.

The total is set at 7.5 at all major sportsbooks, down from the opening line of 8. Sixty-one percent of tickets are on the Over but 87% of the handle is on the Under.

Pirates vs. Mets Projected Pitchers

RHP JT Brubaker (3-11, 4.36 ERA, 1.42 WHIP) vs. RHP Carlos Carrasco (14-6, 3.80 ERA, 1.30 WHIP)

Brubaker’s been much better than his record and stats for the year suggest. Brubaker’s a strikeout-heavy right-hander with 9.1 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9. Though his away record is 0-7, he’s actually pitched better on the road than at home with an ERA of 3.88. Still, in his last three stats coming into Thursday, Brubaker posted a 5.50 ERA.

The veteran Carrasco has been great for New York this year. The Mets are 10-2 in Carrasco’s last 12 home starts when the Mets are favored. Carrasco is personally 8-2 at home with a 3.35 ERA.

Pirates vs. Mets Picks

Pirates vs. Mets ML Pick

Mets (-250) ★★★

As mentioned, this is very much a “get right” series for the Mets. Even if the Pirates are playing their best baseball, they’ve long been out of playoff contention and still sit at the bottom of the NL Central. 

The Mets are 35-17 in their last 52 home games, and as I said, Carrasco has pitched his best at home. While the Mets have scored three or fewer runs in four of their last six games and lost seven straight games when scoring three or fewer runs, they also have the second-lowest strikeout rate in the league against right-handed pitchers.

So while Brubaker may be a strikeout-heavy starter, that’s not exactly going to do much against this Mets lineup. Additionally, Brubaker’s let up at least three runs in his last three starts. If the Mets lineup can get three runs off him, they’ll be in good shape.

The Pirates have the fifth-worst team ERA in MLB at 4.61, while the Mets have the 10th-best ERA and one of the best closers in the game in Edwin Diaz. By all means, the Mets should not only win this game but use it to get their offense alive again.

Check out the latest comprehensive and most trusted Sportsbook Reviews by SBR.

Pirates vs. Mets O/U Pick

Over 7.5 (+100) ★★

The Pirates have been on an offensive hot streak of late. They outscored the Reds 23-8 in their most recent four-game series. They're hitting better than they have all season. 

Additionally, the Mets are very much in need of an offensive surge and have the lineup to do it. We know what hitters like Jeff McNeil, Starling Marte, and Pete Alonso are capable of. Brubaker’s been on a tough stretch recently and that in combination with the Pirates’ bullpen numbers is the perfect opportunity for the Mets to capitalize and break open as an offense.

Pirates vs. Mets Prop Pick

Carrasco Over 7 strikeouts (+150) ★★

Carrasco has a K/9 rate of 8.8 through 25 starts, and he has been excellent at home.

The Pirates have the league’s second-highest strikeout rate. Their offensive hot streak has to come to an end at some point soon.

Where to Bet on Pirates-Mets Picks

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Pirates-Mets picks made on 9/15/2022 at 12:49 p.m. ET.