Phillies at Mets MLB Pick September 7
The Philadelphia Phillies just lost 2 of 3 games in Miami against the lowly Marlins, but they actually made up ground in that span. They certainly missed an opportunity to make things tighter in the NL East, but it helped that the Atlanta Braves were also swept away at home in 3 games by the Boston Red Sox. Entering Friday’s action, the Phillies’ deficit in the division is down to just 3 1/2 games.
Philly will get another chance to pick on a team down in the dumps. The Mets have been better of late, but this is still a team nowhere near the playoff picture in the National League. Given the huge gaggle of teams still fighting for a postseason spot, that says a lot about how much of a disaster the Mets have been for most of the year. The Braves, meanwhile, will be playing the second of a tough 3-game set on the road in Arizona tonight. Atlanta picked up a much-needed 7-6 win last night, but they’ll have their work cut out for them again tonight against Patrick Corbin.
The Phillies will throw ace Aaron Nola to the mound in tonight’s series-opener in Queens, while the Mets will counter with underrated left-hander Steven Matz.
Nola has made 4 starts against the Mets this season, and those have gone pretty well. The right-hander is 3-0 so far with a nice 1.44 ERA. On the season, the NL Cy Young contender boasts a solid 26.5 percent strikeout rate along with a manageable 6.9 percent walk rate. His SIERA of 3.43 is over a full run higher than his 2.23 ERA, but both numbers are still stellar.
Nola’s soft contact rate is impressively nearly as high as his hard-hit rate. Nola has induced a hard contact rate over 21 percent on the year, while his hard contact rate is sitting at just 24.6 percent, which is one of the lowest among all starting pitchers in baseball. He also keeps the ball on the ground at a 50.2 percent clip, which is strong. There are really no boxes he hasn’t checked this season. Opposing hitters have taken him deep just 11 times across his 28 starts, and tonight Nola will get a massive park upgrade going from Citizens Bank Park into one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball, Citi Field.
Nola has held lefties to a wOBA of just .248 compared to a .244 mark for right-handed hitters. The Mets haven’t been a dreadful offense lately, but they’re still without their best hitter in Yoenis Cespedes. On the season, New York has a team-wide wOBA of .311 (ranking 20th) and a wRC+ of 99 (14th) against right-handed pitching. There is little reason to believe Nola can’t have his way against this team here tonight.
Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard get most of the attention for the Mets, but Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz have quietly put together strong individual campaigns of their own. Matz has a 4.20 ERA and 4.07 SIERA on the season through his first 25 starts. The left-hander has a respectable 22.5 percent K-rate on the year alongside an 8.2 percent walk rate. The walks are a little high, but more often than not they don’t give him much trouble.
Matz’ hard contact numbers aren’t as impressive as Nola’s, but he has still kept hard hit balls down to a 32.7 percent rate. The southpaw has also induced ground balls at a 49.4 percent clip, which is above league average.
He has allowed 21 homers in 25 starts, but the home run risk is certainly mitigated whenever he’s pitching in his spacious home ballpark. Matz has allowed a .305 wOBA to lefties compared to a .326 mark against right-handed hitters, though his career splits are more neutral than that. That said, 47 of the 51 career home runs he’s allowed have come off of the bats of right-handed hitters.
The Phillies have a more potent lineup than their opponents tonight, but they do have some weaknesses. First and foremost, they strike out a lot. The Phillies have the sixth-highest strikeout rate (23.5 percent) in the league this season against left-handed pitching. Matz has a 6.43 ERA in 2 starts against the Phils this season, but I’m not going to give that number too much weight. The Phillies have also been scuffling as a team of late.
I like the under on 7 in this game. It’s not a high total to begin with, but we have an ace and another above-average starter taking the mound tonight in what may well be the majors’ best pitcher’s park. I think this one looks like more of a pitcher’s duel than a potential shootout, so I’m comfortable hitting that under.
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