Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Saturday.
In a matchup of two aces returning this year after Tommy John surgery, the most recent returnee could hold value Saturday when southpaw Patrick Corbin and those Arizona Diamondbacks (42-43, 20-22 away) pay a visit to right-hander Matt Harvey and the New York Mets (45-42, 30-14 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Citi Field in Flushing, NY at 4:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +143.
Again Trying to Get Back to .500
The Diamondbacks finally got back to the .500 mark earlier this week for the first time since April after almost unbelievably losing in their previous 12 attempts when they were within one game of .500, but they have now gone one game under again after dropping the series opener 4-2 here at Citi Field last night in a game where the Mets led 4-1 after the first inning and then nobody else scored until Arizona tacked on a run in the ninth.
The loss dropped the Diamondbacks to third place in the National League West, 6½ games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers.
The second place Mets meanwhile have now been the winning MLB picks in five of their last seven games and they have now closed the gap between themselves and the preseason favorites to win the World Series, the Washington Nationals, to just two games in the National League East. It has helped the New York is now 30-14 here at home compared to just 15-28 on the road, although to be fair the Mets did just have successful 4-2 west coast trip.
Second Start Back for Corbin
That home success for the Mets aside, they could have difficulties vs. Corbin today, with whom the Diamondbacks were very patient as he recovered from his surgery. Corbin just made his return vs. the Colorado Rockies last Saturday, getting the win while allowing two runs on eight hits in five innings in his first Major League appearance since 2013.
Corbin struck out three and didn’t walk anyone in his first start back, which is an encouraging sign, and he averaged 91.8 MPH on his fastball, which is an even better sign as his velocity is virtually already where it was before Tommy John as he averaged 92.1 MPH over the entire 2013 season! Now, with normal improvement in his second start back, he can have great success vs. a Mets’ lineup that is dead last in the majors with a .233 batting average overall.
Did Harvey Push Himself Too Soon?
Harvey came back much faster than Corbin did after also last pitching in the majors in 2013, as he was in the New York starting rotation to begin this season, and there is a school of thought that he may have pushed himself too soon considering he throws everything hard. And there has indeed been a decline in his numbers even with his velocity basically unchanged since before the surgery, which points to some issues with his command.
Harvey is now 7-6, and while most other pitchers would be happy with a 3.11 ERA and 1.07 WHIP, Harvey set his bar higher than that in his first two years in the league. This is not to say that Harvey is still not one of the elite pitchers in the league, but when comparing his numbers this year to 2013, his strikeout rate is down from 9.64 per nine innings to 8.63, his walks are up from 1.56 to 1.90, his FIP has gone from 2.00 to 3.49 and his xFIP from 2.63 to 3.31.
And Harvey’s most recent start vs. the Dodgers last Saturday was not encouraging either as he was pulled after throwing exactly 100 pitches in only five innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits plus an alarming five walks vs. only four strikeouts. One of the hits allowed was a home run, and his 1.12 home runs allowed per nine innings this year are also up from the tiny 0.35 per nine he allowed in 2013.
Mets Still Not Hitting
Finally, even though the Mets won on Friday they were still held scoreless after the first inning, when they scored their four runs on two swings of the bat by Lucas Duda (three-run homer) and Michael Cuddyer (solo blast). New York is still batting a dismal .220 while averaging just 2.47 runs per game over the last 10 games, including batting .190 and averaging a microscopic 1.17 runs vs. left-handed pitchers during this span.
With Corbin expected to naturally improve while being a bit stronger in his second start back, look for those New York hitting woes to continue and for underdog Arizona to emerge victorious vs. Harvey and the Mets in Flushing on Saturday.
MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +143