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Padres vs. Mets MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back Musgrove & San Diego as Road Dogs (Sunday, July 24)

Padres vs. Mets MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Back Musgrove & San Diego as Road Dogs (Sunday, July 24) article feature image

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Joe Musgrove

  • A couple of teams with playoff aspirations face off on Sunday Night Baseball as the Mets host the Padres.
  • Joe Musgrove gets the start for the Padres, and Carlos Carrasco gets the ball for New York.
  • Tanner McGrath digs into the matchup and offers up a best bet below.

Padres vs. Mets Odds

Padres Odds+100
Mets Odds-120
Over/Under8  (-105/-115)
Time7:08 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Two of the National League’s best face off underneath the sport’s brightest lights this week, as the Padres are in Queens to play the Mets on Sunday Night Baseball.

Outside of the records and the high-profile stars in both lineups, this game has an extra bit of intrigue with Joe Musgrove on the mound. The Padres’ young starter is still a candidate for the NL Cy Young Award and is sitting fourth in the betting markets.

The Mets will counter with Carlos Carrasco, who is also putting together a half-decent season.

So, where does the value lie?

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San Diego Padres: Machado Carrying Offense

The Padres basically have no chance in the divisional race anymore, as the Dodgers have quickly opened up a double-digit lead with only around 70 games left.

It’s enticing to say how impressive the Padres have been without Fernando Tatis Jr., but it’s important to recognize what this San Diego team is. These guys can pitch, but they cannot hit and they are below-average defensively.

The lineup ranks in the back half of the league in most meaningful offensive stats. The Padres rank just 25th in wRC+ (87) and 26th in OPS (.647) over the past month with Manny Machado in and out of the lineup.

It’s important to bring light to Machado, however, because he is putting together a career season. He’s fifth among NL batters in fWAR (4.3) despite missing some time due to injury. He’s also walking a lot more (10.6 BB%), which is helping to fuel a career-high wRC+ pace of 150.

It’s tough to imagine where the Padres would be without him.

But while Machado plays elite defense at the hot corner (96th percentile in Outs Above Average), the team at large ranks just 17th in Defensive Runs Saved.

Which brings us to the pitching. The Padres’ pitching staff has posted the eighth-best ERA (3.74) and the 12th-best xFIP (3.85) on the season. The rotation and bullpen have carried this team to a three-game lead in the NL Wild Card standings.

It’s all anchored by this man.

Starting pitcher: Joe Musgrove (RHP)

Musgrove is simply throwing more strikes than he ever has. He’s on pace for a career high in called strike rate (20.5%) and his CSW rate (31.9%) can only be beaten by his 2020 COVID campaign (33.6%).

Yet his strikeout rate is way down and his ground-ball rate and batted-ball statistics have made no meaningful movement.

How is Musgrove posting the best year of his career?

I think it’s the walks. Musgrove is walking less than two batters per nine innings, fueling a massive drop in his WHIP (0.97) and FIP (3.09). If you don’t let people on base, you’re going to post a low ERA and his 2.42 mark would be a career-low if he keeps it up.

Musgrove is due for a certain amount of regression, considering his 3.17 xERA and 3.28 xFIP. However, this is the best season he’s put together so far in his career.

I am a little worried about the recent trends as Musgrove has a 4.50 ERA over his past five starts. He hadn’t allowed more than two runs in any outing before this stretch and has done so three times over the past month.

New York Mets: Can Mets Hold on in NL East Race?

The Mets are still in the danger zone. The Braves feel like a better team have closed the gap in the NL East.

The Mets continue to prove their worth through good plate discipline. The team makes a lot of contact and does not strike out. However, the Mets don’t hit the ball hard and rank in the back half of the league in batted-ball stats.

I don’t know when Jacob deGrom is going to be back. The ceiling for this team is raised significantly when he’s anchoring the rotation, even if Max Scherzer is pitching as well as ever. It seems like the Mets value him being healthy in October more than rushing his return. That’s valid.

I have a hard time making heads or tails of this team. Pete Alonso is the team’s best hitter, but it’s Brandon Nimmo who leads the team in WAR. They’re also not elite defensively and rank around league average in Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average.

But similar to the Padres, the pitching is elite. The rotation is third in xFIP and the bullpen is second. Edwin Diaz is the biggest shutdown reliever in the game right now, striking out over half the batters he’s faced with an xFIP below 1.00.

Starting pitcher: Carlos Carrasco (RHP)

“Cookie” ended the first half on a rough stretch. He put up a 5.66 ERA and a ridiculous 1.65 WHIP over his final seven starts. Carrasco ended on a high note by tossing six shutout innings against the Cubs, but that’s the Cubs.

It’s a bit of an overcorrection. Carrasco’s 3.48 xFIP shows he’s not a mid-4.00s ERA pitcher. Projections have him finishing the year with an ERA in the 3.71 to 4.01 range, which would be a nice end-of-season stretch for him.

Carrasco gets guys to chase. His two best pitches have been his slider and changeup, both of which have a Whiff rate close to 35%. As a result, Carrasco ranks in the 97th percentile of pitchers in chase rate and is generating more swings than ever (51.8%).

But his batted-ball statistics aren’t elite.

Image credit: Baseball Savant

Padres-Mets Pick

I find it important to mention that the Padres have won four of the past five games with the Mets. Moreover, the wind is projected to be blowing straight out to center field at almost 14 mph during the game.

That points me toward the Padres and the over.

However, I don’t particularly like the total in this spot. I think the number is fair as these are two average offenses facing off against a couple of quality starting pitchers and bullpens.

I do think the Padres pose value at +100 with Musgrove on the mound. Plus, the Action Network App has already tracked sharp money coming in on the Padres.

I’ll back Musgrove and the Padres to out-duel the Mets on Sunday Night.

Pick: Padres ML (+106 at FanDuel Sportsbook | Playable to +100)

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