MLB Odds & Picks for Mets vs. Cubs: Bet New York to Stay Hot vs. Jake Arrieta (Tuesday, April 20)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Mets starting pitcher Taijuan Walker.
- The surging New York Mets take on the Chicago Cubs in Tuesday's Major League Baseball action at Wrigley Field.
- The Mets, winners of five of their last six games, have turned things around after a slow start.
- Kenny Ducey explains below why he expects that improved form to continue against starter Jake Arrieta and the Cubs.
Mets vs. Cubs MLB Odds
|Over/Under||7.5 (-117 / -105)|
|Time||7:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds updated Tuesday evening and via DraftKings.|
Fresh off another series win in Colorado, the New York Mets are beginning to hit their stride, entering Tuesday's game against the Chicago Cubs winners of five of their last six games.
They'll send one of their most successful signings of the season thus far to the mound in Taijuan Walker, who will have the pleasure of facing one of the most disappointing lineups in baseball. Chicago will counter with Jake Arrieta, whose numbers suggest a bad outing is coming at any moment.
Could that bad outing be in this spot against surging New York or will he continue to pitch in and out of jams? Let's take a look at this matchup and see if we can find some value.
New York Mets
It's really amazing to see the Mets sitting atop the NL East at 7-4, despite how poorly they've played. New York is just 14th in wRC+ after finishing second in the metric last season.
Newly-acquired standout Francisco Lindor is hitting .189; Jeff McNeil, the "King of Contact", is at .176; Michael Conforto has a 70 OPS+; and, Pete Alonso has homered just twice all year. On top of that, the Mets lost starting third baseman J.D. Davis to an injury after just two games, from which he just returned over the weekend.
Yet, New York has managed to absorb all the blows and that's why this team has so much potential. The Mets' ERA sits fourth in baseball at a sparkling 2.92, plus they're second to only the New York Yankees with a 10.78% strikeout rate.
They've managed to piece together a decent enough rotation around Jacob deGrom and Marcus Stroman, and while their bullpen hasn't been great, they've come up with some huge outs.
Against the Cubs, who have been serving up pitches all season, things might turn for the Mets' offense, which would be bad news for the rest of the league. It should also be bad news for the Cubs, who have had issues scoring runs.
That'll be music to Taijaun Walker's ears, who is starting to build some confidence around his once-exciting arsenal of pitches. The Mets' journeyman has ranked in the top 6 percent of league in average exit velocity, with his strikeouts climbing more than 7% this season.
Simply put, Walker has given the Mets a chance to win every time he's taken the ball, and this start should be no different.
Saturday afternoon was fun one for the Cubs, who scored 13 runs behind five round-trippers in a nine-run win over the Atlanta Braves. Then, reality set in Sunday in their 13-4 loss against that same opponent.
Nothing has changed for Chicago. It's still struggling mightily with making contact, getting just 71.3% of its swings on the ball that's good for second to last. As a result, the Cubs have the third-highest strikeout rate at 28.2%.
The thing about it is that Chicago has been doing this for years. The franchise has struggled in the contact department, only to make up for it with walks and home runs. This isn't unlike most of the league, and it's sort of the same issue that's currently plaguing the Yankees right now.
When they're hitting home runs, the Cubs are fine, but the issue is the homers aren't there to rescue them right now. Without Saturday's outburst, they'd be sitting right in the middle of the league. This team whiffs a lot, and it's hard to predict the few games they're going to make solid contact.
A lackluster offense has put a lot of pressure on the Cubs' pitching staff, which has not responded well. Their starting rotation is the second worst in baseball with a 5.91 ERA, and the bullpen ranks third worst with a 4.98 ERA.
Of particular concern is the fact Arrieta has actually been one of their best with a 3.18 ERA, but that number is considerably inflated. His 5.27 expected ERA and ridiculous 78.7% strand rate suggest there is a big day of reckoning coming, and it could be in this spot against a Mets offense that has been dormant to this point, but is slowly beginning to see the ball better.
When you take a look at Arrieta's peripherals, it's evident that a massive blow-up outing is coming any start now. So, why not the Mets?
They have plenty of talented left-handed bats from Lindor to Conforto, who can't stay down forever. New York did a decent enough job over the past week of beating up on bad (and good) pitching, going to Philadelphia and putting up nearly five runs per game. And though offense was a bit harder to come by at Coors Field, there were some very talented starters on the hill for Colorado.
The biggest factor here has to be the slumping Cubs' offense against the surging Walker. We have seen teams with bad offenses (namely the Milwaukee Brewers) pick up win after win despite producing only a few runs, and nothing more should be needed here as long as Walker continues to generate swings and misses at the rate he's been going.
Nothing about this game points to a resurgence for the Cubs, and everything points to negative regression for Arrieta. The Cubs are going to win some games this season, but I'm going to have to fade them again here. The situations and the price are too good.
Pick: Mets ML (-134)