Nationals vs. Mets MLB Odds & Picks: Back Jacob deGrom to Have Rare Run Support (Friday, April 23)

Nationals vs. Mets MLB Odds & Picks: Back Jacob deGrom to Have Rare Run Support (Friday, April 23) article feature image

Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured: Jacob deGrom.

  • The Mets welcome the Nationals to Citi Field on Friday night by sending Jacob deGrom out to the hill.
  • Mets bats traditionally go cold with deGrom on the mound, but that might not be the case tonight.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down why he's backing the Mets' team total against Washington starter Erick Fedde.

Nationals vs. Mets Odds

Nationals Odds+260
Mets Odds-315
TimeFriday, 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Friday and via DraftKings

The Nationals and Mets start a three-game series on Friday night with the National League East race wide open early in the season.

Washington took two of three from the Cardinals this past week to get back to within two games of .500. It's going to be an interesting season for the 2019 World Series champions, as its lineup and bullpen are seemingly not close to the NL's elite. Tonight, that lineup will be put to the test when the Nats face the best pitcher in baseball.

The Mets' season was going great before they got swept by the Cubs at Wrigley Field entering this series. New York's bats went quiet at the Friendly Confines, only plating eight total runs against a very average Cubs pitching staff. However, they'll have a great chance of turning things around against a below-average starter like Washington's Erick Fedde.

Offensive Matchup

Washington Nationals

The Nationals' lineup is very top heavy and doesn't have much firepower once you get past Trea Turner and Juan Soto. Washington's offense is below average to start the season with a .308 wOBA and 91 wRC+. Now, it will face Jacob deGrom without Soto, who is currently on the 10-day injured list due to a shoulder injury.

Juan Soto (shoulder) placed on 10-day IL.

— FantasyLabs MLB (@FantasyLabsMLB) April 20, 2021

Last season, Washington was the 18th-best fastball-hitting team, which is going to be a problem against deGrom because he has one of the best fastballs in the game, allowing only a .243 wOBA against it last season. However, the Nationals' were in the top five of MLB against sliders and changeups, which gives them hope against deGrom's off-speed pitches. However, without Soto in the lineup it's going to be very difficult.

New York Mets

In 2020, the Mets had one of the best offenses in baseball over the second half of the 2020 season. New York led MLB with a .272 average and was third in wOBA and wRC+, and it should be even better this season with the addition of Francisco Lindor. However, the Mets have gotten off to a slow start through their first 14 games, putting up only a .306 wOBA and 95 wRC+, which are both considered below average by MLB standards.

Most of New York's success last season came against right-handed pitching. The Mets were third in the MLB with a .353 wOBA and 125 wRC+ against righties in 2020. Fedde is a very below-average right-hander, so I expect the Mets lineup to get to him tonight.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Erick Fedde vs. Jacob deGrom

2021 ZIPS Projected Stats(via Fangraphs)

Nationals Starting Pitcher

Erick Fedde, RHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Fedde was a disaster in 2020. He had a whopping 5.41 xERA and 5.22 xFIP, but it gets even worse. His K/9 was embarrassingly low at 5.01 and he gave up home runs left and right (1.79 HR/9).

Fedde is mainly a sinker-ball guy, but he's not even close to being somewhat effective. Opponents hit .275 with a .359 wOBA off of his sinker. His curveball and changeup were his only two effective pitches, and he will probably have to utilize them a lot on Friday night if he's going to give the Nats a chance.

In his three starts this season, he's been slightly more effective with a xERA of 4.84 and a xFIP of 4.01. However, the Mets' lineup's prowess against right-handed pitching presents a daunting challenge for him.

Mets Starting Pitcher

Jacob deGrom, RHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

deGrom had the best season of his career in 2020. He was untouchable, posting a 2.38 ERA and 2.46 xFIP, which is the best mark of his career. He made opposing hitters look silly, striking out 104 batters in 68 innings (13.76 K/9). So far in 2021, he's back to his old tricks, allowing only one earned run through his first 20 innings.

deGrom usually uses a three-pitch arsenal of a fastball, slider and changeup. His fastball may be the best in all of baseball. He's added even more velocity over the past few years and is averaging 98.6 mph on it this season, which is the highest in baseball. It has crazy movement, too, which makes it almost impossible to hit at that high of a velocity.

Jacob deGrom threw straight ⛽️ last season, increasing his average fastball velo to 98.6 MPH.

Here's every strikeout he had at 100+ MPH 🔥

— SNY (@SNYtv) February 26, 2021

With Soto out, deGrom should have no trouble carving up this Washington lineup.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

In 2020, Washington's bullpen really struggled, ranking in the bottom 10 of MLB in both ERA and xFIP. So far in 2021, things have not gotten much better as they are still near the bottom of MLB in both categories. They also may be called upon early in this game if Fedde continues to struggle on the mound.

The biggest reason the Mets didn't have much success last season was their bullpen. They made some upgrades through trades and offseason signings, while also keeping Edwin Díaz, Dellin Betances and Seth Lugo. So far, the Mets' bullpen has been average, but overall it looks like New York should have a significant advantage in this matchup.

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Nationals-Mets Pick

I think the Mets should be able to shell Fedde given the consistent struggles he's had on the mound over the past two seasons. New York absolutely rips right-handed pitching and Fedde is about as weak as it gets for major-league righties.

Since I have the Mets projected for 4.67 runs tonight, I am going to back their team total over 4.5 runs.

Pick: Mets Team Total Over 4.5 (-104)

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