The curtains have all but set on the 2021 New York Mets’ season, as their fifth straight loss on Saturday night — a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies — knocked New York seven games out in the race for the second National League Wild-Card spot and kept the Mets back 5½ games in the NL East. Meanwhile, with another Atlanta Braves’ loss, the Phillies moved one game behind the Braves in the division (and maintained their 2½-game Wild-Card deficit).
So, the Mets have officially made the switch from playing for their postseason hopes to playing as a spoiler for their rivals’ postseason hopes. They can deal a blow to the Phillies’ chances in both races as the two teams wrap up a weekend series on Sunday night. New York, looking to avoid a second-consecutive home sweep, has lost the first two games by a total of three runs and will try to turn the tide with one of their better starters on the mound.
Rich Hill, who has pitched well for New York since being traded from the Tampa Bay Rays, will be on the mound against the Phillies’ Kyle Gibson, another midseason acquisition. First pitch from Flushing is at 7:08 p.m. ET. The BetUS Sportsbook has the Mets as -120 moneyline favorites and as +160 favorites on the runline. Current MLB lines have the over/under at 8½ runs.
Hill Has Been Steady
It’s probably not a good sign that the Mets have relied so heavily on Hill but considering how many injuries their rotation has suffered this season, it makes sense. He rarely pitches more than five innings — only doing so twice as a Met — yet has also allowed more than three runs just once. In nine starts with New York, Hill has put together a 3.88 ERA and has kept the Mets within striking distance, at the very least, in each game in which he has appeared.
The recently beleaguered Mets’ bullpen will be called upon early and often on Sunday night but if Hill can limit the Phillies to two or three runs (or fewer), then he’ll have done his job. Philadelphia has a good lineup but a lot of its offensive production comes from home runs, and Hill does a good job of preventing those — giving up only six in 48.2 innings as a Met.
If you’re betting online, don’t expect Hill to shut out the Phillies or anything, especially with red-hot Bryce Harper and Jean Segura in the lineup. But, expect Hill to give the Mets five or six strong innings and at least give New York a shot, even with its offensive and bullpen issues.
Baserunners Galore for Gibson
The Phillies thought Gibson would give them what Hill has given the Mets, but that just hasn’t been the case. Since arriving from the Texas Rangers, Gibson has swung between stretches of great starts and terrible starts and is going through a significant downturn during September. He has a 9.00 ERA in his last three outings (15 runs in 15 innings pitched) and is having a brutal time trying to keep opposing runners off the basepaths.
As a sinker-ball pitcher who relies on groundouts — and double plays — to escape big innings, Gibson basically needs 10+ groundouts a game in order to be effective. He was reaching that number routinely with Texas and during his first bunch of starts with Philadelphia but hasn’t done so in either of his last two starts which partially explains why he has been hit so hard.
Walks have also been a big problem for Gibson, which have driven up his pitch counts and clogged the bases. His recent spike in home runs has compounded the problem by allowing more of those runners to score. The MLB odds think that the Mets will get to Gibson, which is a fair assessment and the right one to make. The Mets’ offensive woes have been on full display this past week but a struggling Gibson is a prime candidate to get them back on track.
Good Value on Mets’ Runline
When making MLB picks, sometimes you have to bet the odds and value instead of strictly betting on the team or game. This game is a great example of that.
On paper, you could argue that the reeling Mets should be an underdog to a surging Phillies team that has its big trade deadline acquisition on the mound. But, the Mets are at home — where they’re 10 games above .500 this season — and they’ve played the most one-run games in baseball, so it makes sense why the Phillies wouldn’t be the favorite, especially on the runline. And, with the Mets such slim moneyline favorites, there’s a ton of value on the Mets’ runline so it’s a smart bet to make.