After picking up a win in the series opener on Thursday night, the Philadelphia Phillies (84-69) look to continue their march to the top NL Wild Card spot in game two against the New York Mets (71-82) on Friday. First pitch from Citizens Bank Park is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. New York will send Tylor Megill (8-8, 4.94 ERA) to the mound, while Philly counters with ex-Met Taijuan Walker (15-5, 4.40).
Philly has won two in a row, stretching their lead atop the NL Wild Card standings to a full three games over the Arizona Diamondbacks. They enter this one as -162 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Mets are at +136. The run total is set at 9.
Mets-Phillies picks: Friday, September 22
Day to day: OF DJ Stewart (wrist)
Out: OF Starling Marte (groin)
Out: 1B Rhys Hoskins (knee)
Tylor Megill vs. Taijuan Walker
Given a second chance in New York’s rotation after their trade deadline fire sale, Megill has actually pitched pretty well of late. The righty has allowed three or fewer runs in each of his last six starts, with a 3.13 ERA over 31.2 innings in that span. He most recently allowed three runs (two earned) in 5.2 innings against the Reds, despite giving nine hits and two walks. When Megill has his slider cooking, he can be effective, but he’s been a bit scatter-shot lately, with an ugly 1.51 WHIP so far in September.
Walker, meanwhile, has been in a bad way this month, allowing at least four earned runs in each of his three September starts for an ERA of 7.27. (He’s also allowed 26 baserunners over his last 17.1 innings.) His fastball velocity has been way down of late — he was at around 91-92 last time out — while his splitter has gone from ground-ball machine to getting hit very, very hard. Those two pitches form the basis of Walker’s repertoire, and unless he gets them fixed in a hurry, he should continue to struggle. He’s faced his former team once already this year, allowing three runs on two hits and three walks over just four innings.
Megill’s top-line stats are overstating how good he’s actually been — he’s given up lots of hits and hard contact, even if he’s managed to keep runs off the board reasonably well. I think that comes to a halt in a tough spot against a stacked Phillies lineup tonight, and with Walker struggling on the other side — the Mets have quietly been a top-10 offense so far this month — we should be headed for the over once again after a 5-4 final last night.
Pick: Over 9
Walker does give me pause here, but in the end, I think New York doesn’t quite have the horses to win a slugfest with the Phils — which is how I see this game unfolding. Megill is due for some serious regression, and hitter-friendly CBP is just the place to provide it.
Pick: Phillies -162