Mets Favored to Take Care of A’s In Series Opener

Who: Oakland Athletics v. New York Mets

When: 7:10PM EST

Where: Citi Field–Flushing, New York

The Mets and A’s are going to kick off what is shaping up to be a less than thrilling series. The Athletics play host to one of the worst offenses in MLB, and that is something that seems to be changing in no big hurry. The Athletics, who are 20 games back in the AL West, looked to be playing better baseball when they swept the Indians to kick off the second half of the season, but went on to lose 2 of 3 against the Rays. Inconsistency has been a consistent theme for the A’s all season long.

The Mets are in almost the same boat as the A’s; they are more than 13 games off the pace in the NL East and are being given essentially no chance of earning a post-season berth. Contributing to this situation is a lack of consistent play on both sides of the ball. For the Mets, it seems as though when a pitcher has a solid night, the offense can’t get going. Then, when the offense has a solid night, it seems as though the Met’s pitchers bleed runs. This is a problem that will need to be resolved if they want any hope of competing for the playoffs at any point in the near future.

The Mets have gone 4-3 since the All-Star Break, and nothing about their play has stuck out as overly positive. While it is encouraging that they were able to steal 2 of 3 from the Rockies, it doesn’t count for all that much when you go on to split a 4-game series with St. Louis.

Game Overview and Analysis

On the mound for the Athletics (+144) will be Paul Blackburn (1-0 1.83 ERA). Before going any further, it is important to note that the right-hander has only pitched a little over 19 innings this season. Friday’s start will be Blackburn’s 4th start of the season as well as the 4th start of his career. Despite all the glaring weaknesses that make up the A’s DNA, Blackburn does not have much to do with that.

His first 3 starts have been solid, to say the least. Though 2 were no decisions, all 3 of Blackburn’s starts saw him make it 6 innings or further without bleeding many runs at all. If he can replicate these performances tonight, he will give his team a fighting chance. Of course, he is also going to be relying on his offense scoring runs, and that is something that is never guaranteed.

On the mound for the Mets (-168) will be Steven Matz (2-3 4.58 ERA). Matz has had a decent year overall, however his last start this past Sunday was likely the worst of his career. In just over 1 inning, Matz gave up 7 earned runs. To put in perspective just how poor this is, his last 3 starts combined only saw him allow 5 earned. As a result, the question heading into Friday’s opener is whether he was effectively rattled by that poor start, or if he will bounce right back. He did miss the first 2 months of the season due to injury, so consistency will be an expected struggle.

Of the 2 offenses in this series, I am giving the edge to that of the Mets. Though they weren’t able to muster much on the offensive side of things through the first 2 games of their 4-game series with St. Louis, the final two games–both of which were victories–saw the bats really come alive. If this can continue in any capacity on Friday night, the Mets will win this game easily.

Betting Prediction

Though the Mets don’t boast the best offense in the world, I think their bats are leaps and bounds better than Oakland’s. As such, I feel like the best bet would be a moneyline wager on the Mets (-168). In addition, I am a firm believer that Matz will, in fact, bounce back from his last start. I know the -168 odds are not the best, but it is tough for me to ever recommend a wager on the Athletics.

Bovada lists the Mets as -1.5 run favorites (+120). While I do not necessarily love the proposition itself, I think the +120 odds are enticing enough to take a risk. If the Mets win, I see no reason why it would not be by at least 2 runs.

Finally, the over/under is currently posted at an even 9 runs (-125/-105). This one can very easily go either way considering we are dealing with an unproven pitcher and a pitcher who just gave up 7 runs in barely over a single inning. With that being said, we know that both pitchers have a lot of potential and I think they are going to bounce back tonight, even if the Mets do end up on top