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Milwaukee Needs to Get Back on Track

Struggling Brewers Take Five-Game Skid into Mets Series

It’s been a tough week in an otherwise incredible season for the Milwaukee Brewers. They’ve lost five games in a row — the last four to the scorching hot second-place St. Louis Cardinals — and have seen their lead in the National League Central shrink to 7½ games. The good news is that, with only a week and half left in the regular season, Milwaukee’s magic number to clinch the division is three. So, even with their recent issues, the Brewers can clinch this weekend at home against the reeling New York Mets.

The Mets, still barely mathematically alive in both the NL East and NL Wild Card races, are for all intents and purposes just playing out the string. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games and are a season-worst six games under .500. New York’s offense has underperformed all season but, now, the pitching staff is failing the Mets. So, the Brewers are catching them at the perfect time.

Eric Lauer of the Milwaukee Brewers throws a pitch during the first inning in the game against the Chicago Cubs
Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

Eric Lauer gets the call for the Brewers against New York rookie Tylor Megill. First pitch from Milwaukee is at 8:10 p.m. ET. The BetUS Sportsbook has the Brewers as -140 moneyline favorites and as +150 favorites on the runline. The Mets are +125 moneyline underdogs and -170 underdogs on the runline. Current MLB lines have the over/under at eight runs.

Lauer Has Been Godsend

It’s fair to say that the Brewers didn’t expect to get much from Lauer after he pitched to an unsightly 13.09 ERA in 2020 and suffered a tear in his left throwing shoulder. But, now that he’s fully healthy, Lauer has been one of the better back-end starters in baseball. He has a 3.03 ERA in 107 innings with impressive peripheral numbers. He is striking out a batter per inning and has given up only 85 hits, which has kept his WHIP at an impressive 1.140.

Lauer has taken it to another level in September, as he has allowed three runs all month. He has almost held opponents completely off the board with three one-run starts and a really impressive seven-inning scoreless performance against the explosive Philadelphia Phillies. Because Milwaukee usually holds him to around 90 pitches per start, Lauer typically doesn’t pitch that deep into games but, when he’s on, he can go into the seventh inning.

If you’re betting online, you should back Lauer and the Milwaukee runline. He has been untouchable lately and the Mets are coming off a series against the Red Sox in which they were severely outplayed and looked like a team ready to head into the offseason.

Megill Hitting Rookie Wall

Pressed into service because of New York’s severe rotation injuries, Megill was a revelation for most of the season in his first big-league stint. But, since the beginning of August, he has struggled, especially with keeping the ball in the ballpark.

In his first seven MLB starts, in June and July, Megill had a 2.04 ERA and gave up just four home runs in 35.1 innings. In his last nine starts, however, he has a 6.55 ERA with 12 home runs allowed in 45.1 innings. He couldn’t make it out of the fourth inning in his last start, against the Cardinals, in which he gave up nine hits and six runs. The first inning was especially disastrous, as he let seven of the first eight batters reach base with five scoring.

He’ll try to bounce back against a slumping Milwaukee offense, but it won’t be easy unless he can limit the long ball and strand baserunners. The MLB odds don’t think Megill will be able to hold the Brewers off the board. The Mets’ rookie righty has great stuff and a live fastball, but he has already pitched more innings than he did in any season in the minors or college. So, he might be running out of gas.

Brewers Will Make Mets Earn Runs

It has been a common theme for the Mets, but their inability to convert hits and walks into actual runs needs to be reiterated. New York has been one of baseball’s worst offensive teams , but it’s not for lack of starpower or baserunners. Other than Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor (when healthy) and Javier Báez (for the last two months), the Mets just haven’t done well at converting in key moments.

That obviously doesn’t bode well for them this weekend, but especially so against the Brewers, who are seventh in team defensive runs saved (according to the Fielding Bible) and won’t gift any runs to New York. Add in the fact that the Mets are one of baseball’s slowest teams and you realize that Milwaukee just isn’t a good matchup for a New York team without a whole lot to play for.

If you’re making MLB picks, you should side with the Brewers and the heavy juice on their runline. They want to clinch as soon as they can and can sense a great opportunity to do so, at home, against a below-.500 opponent.

Pick: Milwaukee Brewers -1½ runs (+150)

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