The Mets and Padres will conclude a three-game series on Sunday Night Baseball. The Mets entered the All-Star break with the second-best record in the National League, but they’ve dropped the first two games of this series. Their record of 58-37 still trails only the Dodgers in National League, but their lead over the Braves has shrunk to just a half game.
Meanwhile, the Padres are a solid 10.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West, but they’re in great shape to secure a Wild Card spot. FanGraphs currently gives them an 86.1% chance of making the playoffs despite just a 2.2% chance of winning the division.
Can the Padres secure a sweep in New York, or will the Mets salvage a victory? Let’s dive into some of my favorite plays for Sunday Night Baseball.
The total on this game sits at 8.0 runs, and that feels pretty generous for these offenses at the moment. The Mets have been in a major funk offensively of late, ranking 28th in wRC+ over the past seven days. They’ve scored four runs or fewer in five straight games, and they’ve scored two runs or fewer in four of them.
The Padres haven’t been much better. They rank merely 25th in wRC+ over the past seven days, and they’ve scored four runs or fewer in four straight games.
Both teams will also have quality pitchers on the mound. Joe Musgrove will get the ball for the Padres, and he’s been outstanding this season. He’s pitched to a 2.42 ERA across 16 starts while averaging just under a strikeout per inning. He was rewarded with his first All-Star Game selection, and he’s in contention for the NL Cy Young award.
Carlos Carrasco hasn’t been quite as impressive for the Mets, but his numbers are elevated by two poor showings vs. the Astros. They torched him for 11 runs in just 6 2/3 innings, but he’s bounced back with two earned runs or fewer in each of his past three starts. Overall, his 3.51 FIP is nearly a full run lower than his traditional ERA.
Both pitchers should be able to limit the damage against these offenses, so I like the under at -115.
The most impressive number for Carrasco this season is his 10 wins. Only four pitchers have racked up more wins this season: Justin Verlander, Kyle Wright, Alek Manoah and Tony Gonsolin.
Wins are largely a random stat, but it does suggest that Carrasco is routinely pitching deep enough into the game to factor into the decision. He’s made 18 starts this year, and he’s earned a decision in 14 of them. Carrasco has pitched into the sixth inning in each of his past three outings and he’s racked up at least five innings in 13 of his starts.
That makes Carrasco an interesting option to record a win at +245. The Mets are -125 on the moneyline, making them slight favorites in this matchup. However, Carrasco’s odds to earn the win are significantly lower than Musgrove’s (+150). That doesn’t make much sense to me, especially given Carrasco’s ability to factor into the decision.
While neither of these offenses have been very good recently, they haven’t been that bad overall. In particular, the Mets have fared extremely well against right-handers this year. They rank sixth in wRC+ in that split, while the Padres have been just slightly below-average.
The Mets have been particularly good at scoring the first inning. They’ve scored in the first inning just under 35% of the time, including 46.67% of the time at home. That’s the best percentage for home scoring in the majors.
The Padres’ first-inning scoring numbers aren’t quite as impressive, but they have an above-average matchup vs. Carrasco. His biggest struggles have come in the first inning this season, pitching to a 6.00 ERA.
Ultimately, one of these squads should be able to push a run across, making +105 a solid value.
First hit props are a relatively new market on DraftKings Sportsbook, but they obviously favor the road team. They’ll get the first crack at batting, which gives them the first chance at recording a hit. If they can get in the hit column in the top of the first inning, the home team won’t even get a crack at it.
Unsurprisingly, that makes the Padres the favorites in this category. Jurickson Profar (+250) is expected to hit leadoff, so he’ll have the first chance at getting a hit vs. Carrasco. Profar has had a nice year, but he’s hit just .245 against right-handers this season. +250 translates to approximately a 28.5% chance of him recording a hit, so we’re not getting the right odds.
I’d rather take a shot on Cronenworth at +320. He’s a career .262 hitter against right-handed pitchers, so he’s a bit better than Profar in that department. If Profar doesn’t record a hit – which should happen around 75% of the time – Cronenworth has a nice shot to cash a solid underdog ticket.
You can also wager on who will hit the first homer on DraftKings Sportsbook. Unlike the First Hit prop, batting order and team doesn’t factor nearly as much into this wager. The first homer can come from either team in any inning, so betting on a long shot is much more viable.
This is the first game I can remember this year where no homers (+500) is actually the betting favorite. That makes sense given the lack of power between these two squads, but they still combine for an average of 1.8 homers per game. Odds are, someone will likely go deep in this contest.
I’m willing to roll the dice on McNeil as a sizable longshot. He has just four homers this season, but he’s an outstanding hitter against right-handed pitching. A lot of his hits are singles – he loves to flip the ball the opposite way – but he has enough power to pull one over the wall when he’s looking to do so. If he gets ahead in the count, don’t be surprised if he swings from his heels against Musgrove.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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