Mets at Reds Pick: Over 11 Runs (-105)
Things could be going better for both the Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets following the All-Star break.
The second-place Reds entered the second half with a golden opportunity to gain ground on the first-place Milwaukee Brewers with a three-game head-to-head series in the Queen City over the weekend. However, the Brewers wound up earning a road sweep of the weekend set, extending their lead in the NL Central to seven games in the process.
The Mets, meanwhile, are trying to stave off a gaggle of contenders in the NL East. New York dropped two straight games on Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh before falling into a disastrous 6-0 hole in the first inning on Sunday. However, the bats were able to rally, with a late Michael Conforto home run proving to be the difference in the Mets’ stirring 7-6 comeback victory.
The Mets played seven straight games against the lowly Pirates before and after the break, and they came out of that stretch with just three wins. It wasn’t exactly ideal for a team with hopes of competing for a World Series title, as the Buccos own the second-worst record in the National League.
Both the Mets and Reds will look to find their footing when the two teams meet at the Great American Ballpark on Monday to begin a three-game set. Jerad Eickhoff will make another start for the visitors, while Vladimir Gutierrez will get the call for the home side. The Reds are -113 moneyline favorites at BetOnline in a game that features a sizable over/under of 11 runs.
Mets’ Offense Looking to Break Out
The Mets were dealt a couple of blows over the weekend when both Francisco Lindor and Jacob deGrom were placed on the injured list. DeGrom is dealing with forearm tightness again, while Lindor reportedly suffered a Grade 2 oblique strain against the Pirates. Lindor hinted that, while he was able to avoid any structural damage, it’s the kind of injury that will likely keep him on the IL longer than the 10-day minimum stay.
Injuries are nothing new to this team, of course. DeGrom has been in-and-out of the rotation all year long. Conforto, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo have all missed significant time, while Carlos Carrasco has yet to throw a pitch since coming to New York with Lindor from Cleveland last offseason. Despite it all, the Mets are still 48-42 on the year and two games up on the Phillies in the division.
New York is in first place despite having scored just 342 runs on the year, which is the fewest in the NL East. Of course, the Mets’ pitching is largely responsible for their place in the standings, as the team has also allowed just 337 runs, which is the second-fewest in the entire National League. While scoring has been a struggle, the Mets should be in a good spot to do some damage on Monday night.
Gutierrez may have a decent 4.29 ERA through his first nine starts of the year, but his underlying numbers are all below average. The rookie has benefited from a weirdly low .248 BABIP allowed, and he has managed to strand nearly 80 percent of the runners that have reached base against him. Gutierrez has a legitimately bad 5.44 SIERA, and his context-neutral ERA (CNERA) is sitting at 5.30. Only four pitchers pitching today have a worse CNERA than Gutierrez, and one of them happens to be starting this very same game for the Mets.
Missing Lindor will hurt, but the Mets’ offense is still largely healthy at the moment. The first six hitters in the projected lineup have above-average wOBAs so far this season, while the two that don’t – Jonathan Villar and James McCann – have still been decent hitters over the course of their respective careers.
Reds Trying to Get Back on Track
Jerad Eickhoff found some success with the Phillies earlier in his career, but he’s popped up this year with the Mets following a string of injuries. Through his first three games of the season with New York, the 31-year-old is 0-1 with a 4.97 ERA. Since pitching four scoreless innings in his team debut against Atlanta, Eickhoff has been roughed up to the tune of seven runs, including six homers allowed, across his last 8.2 innings against Washington and Pittsburgh.
The home runs are a problem. Eickhoff has a strikeout rate barely over 10 percent through his first three outings, and six homers allowed in 12.2 innings of work simply won’t cut it. It probably won’t help that the Mets are heading into Great American Ballpark tonight, which has been the most homer-friendly park in all of baseball so far in 2021.
Lefties have accounted for five of those dingers. Tonight, Eickhoff will have to deal with Jesse Winker, Joey Votto, Tyler Naquin, and Tucker Barnhart all taking their hacks from the left side of the plate. Add in the power of Eugenio Suarez and Nick Castellanos from the right side and you’ve got what appears to be a nightmare of a matchup for the Mets’ right-hander.
For good measure, it’s worth noting that the temperature tonight in Cincinnati is expected to be in the mid-80s around first pitch. This ballpark is hitter-friendly even without the addition of hitter-friendly conditions, but it’s just another factor that should lead to a high-scoring affair here. Gutierrez and Eickhoff have both been rather bad so far this season, while both the Mets and Reds happen to boast above-average offenses on paper.
The over/under of 11 is high, but it’s probably not high enough. I think you can take the over on that with confidence, especially considering the juice favors the under (-115). Bet the -105 odds on the over in Mets-Reds tonight.
Pick: Over 11 Runs
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