With Wacha on the Mound Pick Cardinals for Your MLB Picks Against Mets

Jason Lake

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 11:38 AM GMT

Tuesday, May. 19, 2015 11:38 AM GMT

Another day, another chance to add Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals to your MLB picks. Wacha and the Cards visit Jonathon Niese and the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Jason's 2015 record as of May 18: 20-14, plus-4.72 units ML; 0-2, minus-2.05 units Total
 

Everything is hunky-dory in Wachaland. Michael Wacha has yet to fail the St. Louis Cardinals this year; he's got a sterling 7-0 team record and 7.36 units in earnings, making us look like Nostradamus on two occasions already this season. Shall we go for the trifecta with Wacha taking the mound Tuesday night (7:10 p.m. ET) against the New York Mets?

Probably. New York responds with Jonathon Niese, who's 1.13 units in the red on a team record of 3-4. And Tuesday's MLB betting odds have St. Louis at a very reasonable –118 on the road as we go to press. Not surprisingly, our very early consensus reports show 100 percent unanimity behind the Cards. But let's give this game some due diligence and see if there's any reason not to unload on The Lou.

 

FIP FIP FIP
Niese (4.14 FIP) has pitched very well for the Mets (23-16, plus-7.40 units) since becoming a regular starter in 2010. However, while the 6-foot-3 southpaw owns what would be a career-best 2.49 ERA, that mediocre FIP tells another story. Niese's strikeouts (5.61 per nine innings) are down, his walks (2.49/9 IP) are up, and he's seen 13.3 percent of fly balls leave the yard. Add the extra six unearned runs Niese has seen cross the plate this year, and the Mets are below break-even despite his four quality starts.

Perhaps some quality hitting would help Niese get to the pay window. He's received 4.00 runs per game of support, which is average for the Mets (3.92 runs per game), but below average in the majors. New York ranks No. 22 in the majors in scoring, as well as No. 19 with 3.7 WAR and just No. 26 at .668 OPS. Don't blame the park factors in Flushing, either: New York's OPS climbs to .714 at home, although that still only ranks No. 19 overall.

Click here to review our full series coverage for Cardinals vs. Mets

Pinky and the Strain
This isn't something that's likely to get solved anytime soon. According to FanGraphs, in the two weeks heading into Monday's action, the Mets were No. 18 in batting value at 1.4 WAR, and No. 23 overall with a .692 OPS. 3B David Wright (.796 OPS in eight games) is out until June with a strained right hamstring. Catcher Travis d'Arnaud (.892 OPS) could be back later this month once he's fully recovered from a broken right pinky finger. Until then, New York will depend on strong pitching to stay on top of the NL West.

No such problems for Wacha, who's been getting plenty of help from his Cardinals teammates. St. Louis has given the towering righty 5.43 runs of support per game, although that's likely to come down a bit – the Cards (25-13, plus-10.30 units) rank No. 11 overall at 4.4 runs per game. Then again, they're also fifth in value at 6.8 WAR, and sixth with a .742 OPS. Over the past 14 days, St. Louis slips to No. 11 overall at 2.6 WAR, and seventh in OPS at .771, but don't let the rankings cloud that fact that the Cardinals are improving at the plate. Speaking of which...

 

Fantasy Corner
Current St. Louis hitters have lit Niese up for a .955 OPS, but most of them are already owned in Yahoo leagues. So let's turn our attention to the Cardinals bullpen, which ranks third in the majors at 1.9 WAR. St. Louis burned through seven relievers in Monday's 2-1 loss to the Mets (–137) over 14 innings, but LOOGY specialist Randy Choate (2.60 FIP, three holds) should be good to go again on Tuesday after throwing just four pitches. He might even bogart a save after closer Trevor Rosenthal was used in three of the last four games.

Free MLB Pick: Take the Cardinals with your MLB picks.

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