MLB Betting Notes: Streaking Yanks Meet Fading Mets in Subway Series

MLB Betting Notes: Streaking Yanks Meet Fading Mets in Subway Series article feature image
Credit:

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Masahiro Tanaka

My, how the tide has shifted in New York — depending on what side of the baseball fence you reside on.

Mets fans started chirping early in the season after their boys got off to an MLB-best 11-1 start. New York hasn’t been able to maintain that torrid pace, however, as the Mets have gone just 16-31 since. That includes their current six-game losing streak, all of which came at home. In those six losses, they scored a total of only seven runs, failing to score more than one run in five and getting shut out in two. In fact, the Mets have been shut out five times since the start of May. The Mets are back!

Meanwhile, those in the Bronx didn’t get to enjoy the same hot start, as the Yankees were 11-11 through their first 22 games. However, since that point, New York has the best record in baseball at a stellar 29-7. The Bombers now have the second-best record in all of baseball and are on pace to win 112 games. However, if the season ended today, they’d play in the Wild Card game. Let’s go  a step further. If the season ended today, the Yanks would have to face Justin Verlander in a one-game Wild Card just to get to the ALDS. Brutal. Tough livin’ in the American League East.

Let’s take a closer look at the spectacular starting pitching matchup on Friday night. Will the Mets’ bullpen ruin another deGrom gem? Probably.


New York Yankees (+109) at New York Mets (-118) | O/U: 8

Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.79 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.49 ERA)
7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup

Masahiro Tanaka: The Yankees’ right-hander has not had a stellar start to the season, as he has been wildly inconsistent on a start-to-start basis. The long ball has really hurt him so far in 2018, as he has allowed a shockingly high 2.00 HR/9 — and 21.4% of his fly balls have left the park. Those metrics rank fourth and third worst, respectively, among all qualified pitchers. The Mets haven’t hit many homers this year (25th in the league), but they do hit a lot of fly balls. Through Thursday, they ranked ninth in FB%.

Tanaka did throw a complete game shutout at Citi Field back in 2014. However, in his two starts there since, he hasn’t fared as well, allowing eight earned runs in 12.1 innings (both losses).

Those mark the only times Masahiro has faced the Metropolitans, as he has never pitched against them in the Bronx. However, I wouldn’t put too much credence into those splits, as current (and healthy) Mets position players are a combined 7-38 for a paltry .184 average.

And even if the Mets see the return of Yoenis Céspedes, who may rejoin the Mets’ lineup as soon as Friday, he has gone only 3-13 lifetime vs. Tanaka. — Stuckey

Jacob deGrom: The Mets’ ace has had a Cy Young-type of start to the year, but he can’t buy a break from his offense or bullpen. For my money, he’s a top-three pitcher in the National League — right there with Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. The guy just knows how to pitch. Even as a Phillies fan, I stop what I’m doing to enjoy every single one of his starts. The man gets out of jams as well as I’ve ever seen any pitcher in my lifetime.

He owns an NL-leading 1.49 ERA in 2018 — only Justin Verlander has a lower earned run average. And if you look at his FIP and/or xFIP, he has actually pitched better than J-Ver this season.

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I could wax poetic about his stats for hours, but the one that really sticks out to me? His home run rate. He allows an absurd 0.37 HR/9 — which leads all qualified pitchers. (And as I mentioned above, Tanaka has allowed five times that rate.) Again, the man knows how to spin a baseball, and he fights.

DeGrom has faced the Yankees four times in his career, compiling a 1-3 record with a subpar (especially for him) 4.10 ERA. Like Tanaka, he has had mixed results in those four starts — all of which came at Citi Field. As much as it pains me, I have to hit deGrom at this cheap of a price at home against the inconsistent Tanaka. Ugh. —  Stuckey

As Stuckey mentioned, Jacob deGrom is having a lights out season and has essentially given the Mets a chance to win in each of his starts this year. However, they’ve wasted his efforts thanks to their mediocre offense and poor bullpen. In terms of fWAR, the Mets’ pen ranks 26th in the MLB. Who’s No. 1, you wonder? The Yankees. Other than Jeurys Familia and Seth Lugo, the Mets haven’t had many reliable arms in relief. If deGrom doesn’t shove per usual, they could get rocked late (again) against the Bronx Bombers. — Mark Gallant

Fantasy Focus

The Yankees boast one of the most potent offenses in the league, but a few of their top bats enter Friday in poor recent form.

Aaron Judge has posted an average distance of just 215 feet over his past 10 games, which represents a differential of -24 feet when compared to his 12-month average. Gary Sanchez has been even worse, owning an average exit velocity of 82 mph and a hard-hit rate of just 11%. Overall, four of the top six batters in their projected lineup have underperformed their 12-month Statcast numbers over the past 15 days. DeGrom will likely check in with lower ownership than most of the other top arms on the slate, which could make him appealing for guaranteed prize pools (GPPs). If you can’t trust deGrom (even if against the Yankees), who can you trust? — Matt LaMarca

Getting Trendy

In his career, Jacob deGrom is 23-16 when starting Game 1 of a series. And over the last two seasons, the Mets have gone 15-4 in deGrom’s 19 starts to open a series. In those 19 starts, the Mets have won by 2.5 runs per game for a profit of 7.5 units. That makes deGrom the second-most profitable pitcher in all of baseball in that situation. — Evan Abrams

The Mets had an off day on Thursday and boy did they need it, having lost six straight and 11 of 13. Will the break help? Doubtful. Since 2005, teams on a losing streak of six or more games have gone 59-77 (43%) following a day off. That record drops to 27-45 (38%) when facing an opponent with a winning record, which the Yankees certainly have at 40-18. John Ewing

Five MLB teams currently have a run differential of +1.0 or higher, one of which is the power-hitting Yankees. (The others are the Braves, Red Sox, Astros and Cubs.) This season, Jacob deGrom has faced five teams with a positive run differential of 1.0 or higher. The Mets have gone 0-5 in those games, losing by an average of 3.4 runs per game. DeGrom is one of three pitchers in 2018 with no wins and at least five losses in this spot. In case you’re wondering, the other two are Jose Urena and Vince Velasquez. —  Evan Abrams

Stats via FanGraphs, Baseball Reference and MLB.com