The Philadelphia Phillies (83-69) look to maintain their grip on the top NL Wild Card spot as they head back home to welcome old rival the New York Mets (71-81) to town for a four-game series this weekend. First pitch of Thursday’s opener is set for 7:15 p.m. ET. It’ll be a battle of two lefties on the mound, as David Peterson (3-8, 5.22 ERA) gets the ball for the Mets and Philly counters with Ranger Suarez (3-6, 3.80).
The Phillies enter as -162 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with New York at +136. The run total is set at 8.5.
Mets-Phillies picks: Thursday, September 21
Day to day: OF DJ Stewart (wrist)
Out: OF Starling Marte (groin)
Out: 1B Rhys Hoskins (knee)
David Peterson vs. Ranger Suarez
After a hiccup to start the month, Peterson has been surprisingly effective over his last two outings, striking out eight over six innings of three-run ball against the Twins and following that up with 10 Ks and three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings against the Reds last weekend. Crucially, he’s walked just three batters over three starts in September after handing out 16 free passes in just 22 innings in August. Whether that command will stick around for good has been a question surrounding Peterson for a while, but if it does, his fastball/slider combo is good enough to turn over opposing lineups multiple times.
Suarez has also been cooking of late, with a 3.31 ERA and 20 Ks in 16.1 innings in three starts since returning from a hamstring strain at the start of the month. He allowed one run on four hits and four walks while striking out five batters over six innings to earn the win over the Cardinals last time out. All told, the lefty has put up three quality starts in his last four, and when he’s in rhythm and pounding the zone with his sinker and curveball he can be awfully tough to hit. He pitched well in his one prior start against the Mets this season, firing 6.2 innings of two-run ball back in late May.
Philly has scored at least five runs in seven of their last eight games, and while they’ve struggled a bit against left-handed pitchers this month, they’ve also posted a league-high 13.6% walk rate over that span — which could lead to some problems for Peterson, who’s had trouble finding the strike zone in the past. The Mets have quietly been a top-10 outfit against lefties in September, and with two shaky bullpens here, I’m taking the over.
Pick: Over 8.5
Philly needs every win they can get if they want to avoid making things sweaty over the final week of the season, and they’ve had some real mojo working at home where they’re 43-31 on the year. The Mets are a live dog here with several dangerous bats against Suarez and a pitcher in Peterson who’s been on one lately, but I think this Phillies lineup gives Suarez enough run support to nab a series-opening win.
Pick: Phillies -162