Tuesday Early Bird Pick on Mets in Series Opener Against Phillies

N.Y. Mets player Juan Lagares in action

Willie Bee

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 1:17 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 18, 2017 1:17 PM GMT

Both the Phillies and Mets are in funks as they head for New York and Tuesday's series opener, and we're breaking the game down with a free MLB pick in the rivalry.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: No matter how either team is doing, it's always fun when the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets get together. It just so happens that neither team is playing well right now as they prepare to open a set Tuesday (7:10 PM ET).

Double-Z's are in line to start the lid-lifter at Citi Field, Zach Eflin recalled from Triple-A to take Philadelphia's rotation slot opened up by an injury to Clay Buchholz while Zack Wheeler deals for the Mets. With both teams off Monday, the line came out extra early at BetOnline where New York is -150 and 8½ for a scoreboard hurdle.

 

Mets 4-1 When Wheeler Deals Against Phils

Philadelphia has fallen into the NL East basement by losing five of its last six, and pitching has been the primary culprit to a 4-8 start to 2017. The Phillies shouldn't miss Buchholz and his 12+ ERA, even if it's for an extended period of time. Eflin was just activated from the DL himself a week ago after having both knees operated on last season. He made two minor league starts down on the farm and didn't allow a run in 10 innings. Eflin faced the Mets once during his 2016 rookie campaign, taking the loss in Philly with six innings and three runs allowed, all three coming plate-ward on homers by Curtis Granderson and Asdrubal Cabrera.

New York started last week very well by winning five in a row, three at Philadelphia's expense, but ran out of steam over the weekend in Miami. The Mets really needed Monday's off day to rest a weary bullpen from the 4-game set against the Fish, the first game of that series lasting 16 innings. After being banged around in his season debut by the Marlins in a home loss, Wheeler started strong last week in Philadelphia as a slight underdog on the MLB odds, tossing five scoreless frames before running into trouble. He still got the win, though, in his first appearance vs. the Phils since 2014. The 26-year-old has now won his last three assignments against Philadelphia and owns a 3.25 ERA in five career starts.

 

Series Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

It's the second get-together of the season for the Mets and Phillies after meeting in the City of Brotherly Love last week. Philadelphia leads the rivalry 493-459, but New York's sweep at Citizens Bank Park last week tightened that up and the Mets are now well on their way to winning a season series for a 6th-straight year. Six of the 10 at Citi Field last season went to New York, six of the last seven here jumping past totals.

Bettors should get an update before going to the window, but all looks fine on the weather front 24 hours in advance of first pitch. A little on the cool side, perhaps, with thermometers starting in the mid-50s and dropping into the upper-40s coupled with a 10 mph SE breeze (out to left). I'm liking New York for my free baseball pick.

 Free MLB Pick: Mets -162Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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