(Pete Alonso photo courtesy Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports)
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Saturday, July 6, Citi Field, Queens, N.Y., 7:15 p.m. EDT.
If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome, then the New York Mets will enter Saturday night’s contest versus the Philadelphia Phillies absolutely stir crazy.
For the fourth straight game between the teams, the Phillies breached a shoddy Mets bullpen for a late-inning rally as they opened this three-game set with a 7-2 victory Friday night. Ex-Met Jay Bruce singled home J.T. Realmuto with the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth, and Jean Segura highlighted the five-run rally with a two-run double.
Arrieta set for fourth start versus Mets this season
Jake Arrieta (8-6, 4.43 ERA) was the beneficiary of the first rally by the Phillies in this four-game run versus the Mets on June 25 when their five-run sixth overturned a 5-2 deficit and made a winner of the right-hander after he had allowed five runs and nine hits in six innings.
Arrieta again won ugly Sunday in Miami, giving up four runs and eight hits in six innings as Philadelphia gave him a huge cushion with a seven-run sixth in a 13-6 triumph. While he may no longer be a dominant pitcher, Arrieta has used guile and run support to amass a 6-2 record and 3.86 ERA in nine starts versus NL East opponents this year.
“Keep the other guys behind us,” Arrieta said to the team’s official website about his goals. “The guys in here are more than capable of winning ballgames on a consistent basis. Just have to continue to work, grind at-bats, be good on the bump and we’ll be just fine.”
He has gone 2-1 against the Mets this year, winning both his starts at home around a 5-1 loss at Citi Field on April 22. Arrieta is 4-4 with a 2.85 ERA in 13 career starts versus New York, including a 1-3 mark with a 3.24 ERA in five starts at Citi Field.
Jeff McNeil, who entered Friday’s game batting a major league-leading .349, has lit up Arrieta — going 10 for 17 (.588) with a homer and a double.
Syndergaard may have to take matters into his own hands for win
Friday night’s ninth-inning debacle was the latest in a series of bullpen failures by the Mets that extends beyond just facing the Phillies, though some of the worst ones have taken place against their division rivals.
It was the second straight game against the Phillies closer Edwin Diaz blew a lead, but the entire bullpen has self-immolated in this series of late. In the last six meetings — all Phillies wins — New York’s relievers have posted a horrid 13.75 ERA in which they have been drilled for 27 runs and 35 hits in just 17 2-3 innings.
Noah Syndergaard (5-4, 4.56) has had enough struggles on his own without worrying about the bullpen woes. The right-hander’s ERA is 1.53 runs worse than last year and well above his career mark of 3.20.
He did not get a decision Sunday versus Atlanta after yielding three runs in 5 2-3 innings, though the Mets did have to rally for an 8-5 victory in that game after Syndergaard left with the score tied.
Syndergaard was ineffective in his lone start versus the Phillies this year, getting reached for five runs and nine hits in five innings of New York’s 7-6, 11-inning road win. The righty is 5-3 with a 3.71 ERA in 11 starts against Philadelphia but has been a cut above that at home with a 3-1 record and 2.81 ERA in five starts at Citi Field.
The Mets are:
- 1-8 in their last nine games vs. NL East teams.
- 3-14 in their last 17 games vs. right-handed starters.
- 0-5 in their last five home games vs. right-handed starters.
The Phillies are:
- 4-1 in Arrieta’s last five starts.
- 6-2 in their last eight games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 6-0 in their last six games vs. the Mets.
OVER 9 runs (-105)
There is little confidence Syndergaard is going to suddenly become the “Thor” of seasons past and blow through the Phillies lineup, but there is even less confidence in New York’s bullpen righting itself after yet another disastrous outing.
The over has also strongly trended with Arrieta of late, going 4-1-1 in his last six starts and 9-3-1 in Philadelphia’s last 13 road games versus right-handed starters. The over has also been solidly with Syndergaard, amassing a 9-1 mark in his last 10 starts against twams with winning records, including a 6-1 mark in the last seven such outings at Citi Field.
Phillies ML (+135)
At this point, it is fairly safe to say either the Phillies are in the Mets’ collective heads or the Mets themselves are so far inside their own heads they do not know which way is up at the moment.
It has been an impressive avalanche of setbacks over the past month — even beyond late collapses against the Phillies — that have turned the Mets into a punch line in the NL East as they fade from the wild-card chase.
If it was a different Phillies starter than Arrieta, there would almost be some reason to think Syndergaard could right the Mets for one game, but Arrieta has proven he knows how to win ugly, and that could be the case once more between the teams.
Phillies OVER 4 runs (Even)
Another pick that is not as much about the Phillies getting to Syndergaard, which could happen given his uneven season, as much as it is the lack of trust in New York’s bullpen. Mets relievers have allowed five or more runs to the Phillies on five occasions this year, so it can be safely said Philadelphia will not lack for chances in this contest.
Mets -0.5 runs first 5 innings (-110)
Syndergaard makes the Mets worth the flyer here as they have led after five innings in seven of his last 10 starts (7-2-1). Additionally, Arrieta has trailed at the five-inning mark in two of his three starts against the Mets this year and in three of his last four road starts.
UNDER 5 runs first 5 innings (-121)
This is a toss-up pick because while Syndergaard and Arrieta have not been lights-out often this year, the number is just enough to give pause where they can work through jams and still deliver the under. The under is 6-4-1 in the season series and is 5-1-3 in New York’s last nine games.
Phillies ML first inning (+111)
A hunch pick the hangover from Friday night’s loss lingers in the first inning of this contest for the Phillies, who are averaging .63 runs in the first inning this year. Arrieta has also not allowed a first-inning run in his last six road starts.