Sunday MLB Mets vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Philadelphia to Start Fast Against New York (August 8)
Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
- The New York Mets host the Philadelphia Phillies in Sunday's crucial NL East matchup.
- Philadelphia has won seven consecutive games to take the division lead, while New York continues to struggle.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks things down below and details why he likes the Phillies to get off to a fast start.
Mets vs. Phillies Odds
|Time||1:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday morning via DraftKings.|
One week ago, the New York Mets had a 4.5-game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the NL East. However, in one week, the entire division has flipped.
Philadelphia has won seven consecutive games, taking the finale in Pittsburgh, sweeping Washington and then winning the first two games of this series against the Mets.
On the other side, New York has lost six of seven and seen its lead turn into a 1.5-game deficit. On Sunday, the Mets are facing one of the Cy Young frontrunners and former teammate Zack Wheeler. Their bats have gone quiet all week, scoring four or fewer runs in all six defeats.
New York will counter with starting pitcher Taijuan Walker, an All-Star who has since regressed hard in the second half of the Major League Baseball season.
Walker Taking Wrong Turn for New York
Walker has already made three starts against Philadelphia this year, successfully shutting down the club in two of those outings. He’s allowed six runs in 15.1 innings, with 17 strikeouts in three starts, and the Mets have won all those meetings.
However, those outings came earlier in the year when Walker was pitching much better than he has been as of late.
Walker has allowed at least four runs in each of his four starts against Miami, Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Toronto since the All-Star break. His ERA has increased from 2.50 to 3.86 as well. His wOBA allowed is still much lower than his xwOBA allowed, plus his walk rate allowed has increased significantly since the break. He’s now below the 50th percentile in every major category that baseball savant tracks, featuring an xERA, xFIP and FIP north of 4 this season.
The inevitable regression has come for Walker and he’s facing a red-hot Philadelphia lineup that should have Rhys Hoskins back. Offensively, the Mets rank 16th in wRC+ against righties away from Citi Field and 19th in OBP. They’ll snap out of their offensive funk with RISP eventually, but it comes against Wheeler.
Philadelphia’s Stellar Play Powered by Harper
The Phillies are MLB’s hottest team at the moment, winners of seven consecutive games and six of those victories have come against division opponents. They’ve vaulted into first place with an improved bullpen and stellar hitting.
Bryce Harper has carried Philadelphia with three homers this week. He’s up to second in the NL in OPS+ and making a late MVP charge with Fernando Tatis Jr. injured in San Diego. Hoskins missed the first two games of the series, but replacement Brad Miller clubbed two homers in Saturday’s contest.
Wheeler is putting up career-best numbers (2.69 xERA, 2.81 xFIP and 2.49 FIP) across the board. He’s striking out more batters and walking fewer than ever before. Wheeler was left in too long against Washington when he allowed some late runs in the eighth inning in his last start, but few lineups have gotten to the Phillies’ ace all season.
Philadelphia will not have closer Ian Kennedy or top middle reliever Héctor Neris available after both pitched two days in a row heading into this affair. That likely means that walk-prone José Alvarado and regression-bound Archie Bradley will be tasked with closing the deal behind Wheeler.
For that reason, I don’t love laying a big Phillies number for the whole game.
However, Philadelphia has a huge edge over the first five innings, as Walker has failed to provide a quality start in a month. I expect the host to jump ahead early and look to extend its division lead over New York.
Pick: Phillies — First Five Innings -0.5 (-125)