This handicapper has been expecting the Mets to begin fading for a little while now, and perhaps the All-Star break was the turning point. New York will try to avoid losing for the seventh time in its last nine games Saturday against the Dodgers.
Dodgers-Mets Saturday Betting Odds
In the early betting the best line we could find on New York with Matt Harvey was the -124 offered at 5Dimes, while Los Angeles with rookie righty Zach Lee could be found getting +119 at Just Bet. And every book on our MLB odds board listed a total on tonight's game of seven runs.
LA has taken the first two games of this series, including a 7-2 decision Friday night. So the Dodgers are 5-3 since the All-Star break, while the Mets are 2-6.
At 49-48 New York still only trails division-leading Washington by three games in the NL East, and sits 3.5 games behind San Francisco in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
At 56-42 LA leads the NL West by three games over the second-place Giants.
The Dodgers have taken three of five games from the Mets this season, with the totals going 3-2.
On a personnel note New York picked up IF Juan Uribe and U Kelly Johnson in a trade with Atlanta Friday, although their status for today is uncertain.
Harvey (8-7, 3.19), by our strict standards, is 10-for-18 on quality starts, but only one for his last three. Monday he gave up five runs – four earned – through seven innings against Washington, and over his last three starts he's allowed nine ER in 19 innings. For the season Harvey has held opponents to 100 hits through 118 innings, walked 30 and struck out 112.
New York is 10-8 in Harvey's starts, with the totals splitting 9-9.
In three career starts against Los Angeles, including a mediocre effort three weeks ago, Harvey has given up 10 runs and 19 hits through 17 innings; the Mets lost two of those games, and two of those games played OVER.
Lee, a former first-round draft pick by the Dodgers of five years ago, will be making his ML debut, filling in for another Zack, Greinke, who's away from the club on family business. And fortunately he gets to do it against a weak-hitting Mets lineup. Lee earned a shot with the Big Club by going 7-3 with a 2.36 ERA down at Triple-A Oklahoma City this year, allowing 60 hits through 69 innings, walking just 14 while striking out 50.
Reports on Lee say he doesn't overpower, with a top end in the low 90's, but he can throw three or four pitches for strikes.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Los Angeles ranks 15th in the Bigs against right-handed pitching with a .254 team batting average, and fourth with a .329 team on-base percentage.
New York ranks 26th against righties with a .238 average and 25th with a .301 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Citi Field this season are 23-23 on the totals, averaging 7.3 runs per.
Dodgers-Mets Free Picks
It's not easy taking a rookie against Harvey, but the Met ace has been mortal as of late, and during his career against Los Angeles. And the Dodgers own an edge with the sticks. Also, if Mets' bats continue to struggle against right-handed pitching this game should stay UNDER.
MLB Picks: LA +119 at Just Bet and UNDER seven runs (-105) at Just Bet