Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Mets vs. Pirates: Value on Pittsburgh as Home Underdog (July 16)

Friday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Mets vs. Pirates: Value on Pittsburgh as Home Underdog (July 16) article feature image
Credit:

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Francisco Lindor and Adam Frazier.

  • The Mets and Pirates get their second half started the same way they ended the first half: Facing each other.
  • New York sends Marcus Stroman to the mound against Pittsburgh's Chad Kuhl.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.

Mets vs. Pirates Odds

Mets Odds -160
Pirates Odds +140
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV SportsNet PT
Odds updated Friday afternoon and via DraftKings.

Death, Taxes, The Pittsburgh Pirates heading into the All-Star break with some momentum. The Pirates came away with a 6-5 comeback win over the Mets last Sunday to head into the break with a win for the fourth straight year and the seventh time in the last 10 seasons.

In the last 10 years heading into the All-Star break (excluding 2020), Pittsburgh has won their final series of the first half nine times and is 23-11 in the final series prior to the break in the last decade.

The Mets will have plenty of confidence heading into the second half as well as they sit with a 3.5 game lead in the NL East at the break. They will also get to ride the momentum of Pete Alonso successfully defending his Home Run Derby title in seemingly effortless fashion.

These two teams will meet for seven straight games after finishing the first half with a four-game set in New York. They split the four games in Queens and now will head to the Steel City for a three-game series at beautiful PNC Park.

Can New York Continue Offensive Momentum?

It has been a roller coaster couple weeks for Marcus Stroman (RHP), who was probably looking forward to the short break. On June 22, Stroman left the game after just one inning with a hip injury. He managed to avoid the injured list and made his next start, but was roughed up for four runs and lasted just three innings against Philadelphia.

Following the death of his grandmother, Stroman was put on the bereavement list and away from the team for four days. Since returning, he has struggled, allowing eight total runs in his next two starts. He has allowed 12 runs in the three games since his grandmother’s passing.

Prior to his recent stretch, Stroman had been terrific. He was holding a 2.32 ERA and .219 batting average against. He isn’t a big strikeout guy, but his 52.3% groundball rate is the eighth-best in the league.

New York’s offense ranks just 29th in runs per game, 24th in batting average and 25th in wOBA this season. However, they have been better lately, ranking 10th in batting and seventh in OPS over the last two weeks. Getting Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil back in the lineup has been huge.

While the Mets did not have a single position player make the All-Star team, they did have Pete Alonso steal the show once again with his Home Run Derby performance. Alonso successfully defended his title with ease and will look to carry that momentum into the second half. The first baseman finished this first half leading the Mets with 17 home runs and 49 RBI.

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Kuhl the Key for Pittsburgh

After being named the Pirates Opening Day starter, Chad Kuhl (RHP) has failed to live up to the team’s expectations this season. He was winless through his first seven starts, holding a 6.52 ERA. He also missed more than a month on the injured list with shoulder discomfort.

Things have gone much better over the last month for Kuhl. The Buccos have won three of his last four starts and he lasted six innings and allowed just one run in each of those three outings. He is coming off a season-high seven strikeouts in his last game.

The bread-and-butter pitch for Kuhl is his slider, which he throws 45% of the time and is his only pitch with a negative run value. Opponents are batting just .200 against it this year with a 35% whiff rate. The struggle for Kuhl is he allows too many free passes. His lack of trust in his fastball has caused him to have the sixth-highest BB/9 rate (4.91) of all pitchers with at least 50 innings.

Who would have guessed at the beginning of the season that the Pittsburgh Pirates would have two players starting in the All-Star Game? MLB hits leader Adam Frazier and Bryan Reynolds are both having fantastic seasons for the Buccos and earned a trip to the Midsummer Classic. Rookie Ke’Bryan Hayes is a great player as well and Colin Moran is solid, too.

After that, this lineup falls of a cliff. The Bucs- rank last in the league in runs, home runs and OPS this season. However, like the Mets, Pittsburgh has been hitting the ball well recently. Over the last two weeks, the Pirates rank fifth in batting average and sixth in OPS.

Mets-Pirates Pick

There is a chance Stroman’s recent struggled have been due to him trying to pitch while understandably still grieving the loss of his grandmother. But on the other hand, he has been a regression candidate all season.

Despite a solid 2.75 ERA, his 4.61 xERA tells a different story. He has allowed a .233 batting average and .272 wOBA against but has much worse expected numbers with a .271 xBA and .329 xwOBA against. I think what we have seen recently for Stroman is his expected numbers and hard contact finally catching up to him.

Kuhl, on the other hand, has looked much improved over the last month, and his slider is really clicking. He has been much better at PNC Park this season, posting a 2.91 ERA with a .205 batting average against and .296 wOBA at home compared to a 6.07 ERA with a .245 average and .349 wOBA on the road. Kuhl’s BB/9 is two fewer at home than on the road and his HardHit% more than 10% lower.

The Pirates once again took some momentum into the All-Star break and I think they continue it on the other side. Pittsburgh has the same record at home this season as the Mets have on the road. I think there is some value on the Buccos to Raise the Jolly Roger at +130 and would back them down to +120.

Pick: Pittsburgh Pirates +130

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