Dodgers vs. Mets MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Expect Lots of Runs at Citi Field (Tuesday, August 30)
Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Brandon Nimmo & Starling Marte (Mets)
- After winning in extra innings last night in Miami, the Dodgers will travel to New York to begin their set vs. the Mets.
- L.A. will send Andrew Heaney to the mound to oppose Taijuan Walker.
- Does that mean we are heading for a high-scoring affair? Doug Ziefel breaks it all down.
Dodgers vs. Mets Odds
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|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
We may have a National League Championship Series preview on our hand, as the two best teams in the NL are set to kick off this three-game set this evening.
The Mets and Dodgers split a four-game series earlier this season in Los Angeles, but each of these clubs have been quite different since that earlier meeting.
This series could give us some intel on how deep these two teams will go in October.
Getting the ball for the Mets tonight will be Taijuan Walker. Walker has done a better job of not letting his second-half woes come to fruition for the second year in a row. However, this Dodgers lineup is about as tall of a task as you can get, so he'll need to prove himself once again.
Opposing him for L.A. will be Andrew Heaney. Unfortunately, injuries have plagued most of his season, as this will be just his 10th start of the year.
However, he's been spectacular when on the mound, as he enters this game with a 1.94 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 41 innings of work. This Mets lineup will be one of his toughest matchups to date, as the unit has shown it will cook at home.
So, how do we bet this opening battle of goliaths? Let's dig in to find out.
Mets' Walker Facing Difficult Task
The Dodgers are a juggernaut and have proven to be the best team in baseball, as they keep winning even when not at full strength. Their staggering +286 run differential is a testament to that.
They are in line to increase that number this evening, as they'll take their lineup — which is No. 1 in baseball in batting average, wOBA, and wRC+ — up against Walker.
As I said in the intro, Walker has done a good job of silencing the critics who thought they were going to see a repeat of last season.
Since giving up eight runs and lasting just one inning vs. the Braves, he's only surrendered four runs in 13 innings of work.
But his underlying metrics seem to tell a different story.
Walker does not have elite stuff, he does not miss bats consistently and he does not produce soft contact at a high rate. That is a recipe for disaster against this Dodgers lineup. Those are the reasons why his xERA is 4.24 and his FIP is 3.76 when his season ERA is 3.38.
The current Dodgers lineup has also hit him quite well over the course of his career. In 116 combined at-bats, the Dodgers are hitting .267 with a .335 xwOBA and an Average Exit Velocity of 91.7 mph.
Walker may be able to limit the damage early, but expect L.A. to get to him the second time through the order.
Dodgers' Heaney Due for Ugly Outing?
Heaney's numbers are outstanding to this point. His current ability to make batters swing-and-miss is better than we have ever seen from him.
However, this Mets lineup is not one to swing-and-miss often. In fact, the Mets have proven to be very adept at doing the opposite.
New York enters this matchup with the third-lowest strikeout rate in the majors, and it is great at making pitchers work early in the game.
There may be no official statistic, but there's been a countless number of times that we have seen the Mets make starters throw 20-plus pitches in the first inning.
That creates traffic, and as the stressful pitches continue to add up, the pitchers crack and take an early trip to the showers.
While there appear to be signs of Heaney cracking, his underlying metrics say otherwise. While he has been making batters swing-and-miss at an incredible rate, when they've made contact, it's been hard.
He ranks in the bottom 10% of the league in Average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit Rate. Heaney also does not miss many barrels, as his Barrel Rate is amongst the bottom 20% of the league, as well.
The amount of hard-contact points to Heaney's sparkling 1.94 ERA looking very different after this outing. Perhaps it may be much closer to his xERA of 3.16, or his FIP of 3.01.
The Mets and Dodgers are two of the most well-rounded teams in baseball, and while in a matchup of this caliber pitching would generally shine, that is not the case for this opening game of the series.
Walker will be walking a tightrope for a majority of this outing, as the Dodgers' lineup will not give him any breaks. L.A. should be able to do damage by the middle innings.
On the other side, seeing the Mets strike first is very plausible. They are second in the majors in first-inning runs per game at home, and they will be the most challenging lineup that Heaney has faced all season.
Look for them to scratch runs across early and set the tone for this high-scoring affair.
Pick: Over 8.5