Citi Field Hosts Best-of-Three Series
Only two teams in the majors won more games than the New York Mets, and only one of them was in their league. Still, they find themselves in the Wild Card round of the National League, which begins Friday night with a home game against the San Diego Padres.
There are loads of storylines for this best-of-three set, all of which will take place in New York.
Padres Seek Rare Playoff Win
San Diego has built up loads of star power as it tries to turn around a rather brutal playoff history. Since defeating the Atlanta Braves in the 1998 NL Championship Series, the Padres are a woeful 3-14 in the postseason, winning only a Wild Card series in the revamped 2020 COVID playoffs.
The current crew knows it drew a tough card in the 101-win Mets – on the road, no less – but sees the postseason as a chance to start fresh.
“It’s zero and zero now,” manager Bob Melvin recently said. “You look at our team and how, maybe, we stack up against some other teams – I think we’re a pretty good playoff-caliber club, with what the roster’s going to look like once we get going. I’m really encouraged. Hopefully, our best moments are yet to come.”
That roster begins with Manny Machado, the team leader in average home runs and RBI. But the success will hinge on the production of Juan Soto, the biggest prize at the trade deadline but a relative non-factor for San Diego down the stretch. While he drew his usual share of walks, Soto was limited to a .242 average, six homers, and only 16 RBI in 52 games with the Padres.
Those looking for another nugget to help with their MLB picks will want to know that Soto loves hitting at Citi Field. In 30 career games there, he is batting .350 with 10 homers, five doubles, and 21 walks – good for an otherworldly 1.173 OPS.
Soto even has a home run and a walk in his four career plate appearances against ex-teammate Max Scherzer, who starts Game 1 for New York.
Yu Darvish gets the nod for the Padres as he looks to carry some momentum from a solid finish to the regular season. The veteran right-hander went 6-1 with a 2.15 ERA over his final seven starts. Darvish also allowed just one run in 14 innings over two wins against the Mets this year, improving to 5-0 with a 2.56 ERA in eight career starts vs New York.
That’s a boatload of positives in San Diego’s corner and could influence anyone eyeing those MLB playoff odds.
Mets, Built for Long Run, Looking to Avoid Disaster
A late three-game sweep at the hands of the Braves was the big blow for a New York team that held down first place virtually all season. The fall into second place, and thus a Wild Card series, may serve as the beginning of a disappointing end or the catalyst for a run to glory.
With the NL’s batting champ (Jeff McNeil), the RBI champ (Pete Alonso), perhaps the game’s best closer (Edwin Diaz), and the best 1-2 pitching tandem in baseball in Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, it would certainly be a disappointment to fall to the Padres at home.
Players seem to have turned a corner from the sweep in Atlanta and know that a new opportunity is presented Friday.
“Friday’s going to be kind of a different beast. It’s going to be loud, it’s going to be rocking,” McNeil said. “We’ve got to be ready to play. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and looking forward to it.“
Scherzer ended another outstanding season with a clunker, giving up four runs in 5⅔ in one of the losses to the Braves. However, he was brilliant at Citi Field this season, going 4-2 with a 1.67 ERA.
The Mets have one major injury concern with the absence of All-Star right fielder Starling Marte, who is unlikely to play in the series due to a finger injury.
Padres vs Mets Game Injury
Padres vs Mets Head-to-Head
San Diego won four of six meetings during the regular season, taking two of three at both locations. The teams have never met in the postseason.
Padres vs Mets Game Information
- Game: Padres (89-73) vs Mets (101-61)
- Location: Citi Field, Queens, NY
- Day/Time: Friday, October 7th, 8:07 p.m. ET
- Padres vs Mets Live stream: MLB.tv
Padres vs Mets Betting Lines
|San Diego Padres
Y. Darvish -R
|New York Mets
M. Scherzer -R
The odds in this chart are based on the time of publication. They are subject to change.
Padres vs Mets Prediction
New York is the better team, it’s at home, and the Darvish-Scherzer matchup – especially in October – gives the advantage to the hosts. While Darvish is 2-5 with a 5.18 ERA in seven postseason starts, Scherzer is 7-6 with a 3.22 mark. He owns an even better 2.85 number over his last 22 playoff outings.
It’s October, and if there’s a decided edge on the mound, that’s where you have to put your money.