Phillies vs. Mets Odds, Preview, Prediction: Great Value on Philly With Zack Wheeler Pitching (Friday, September 17)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler.
- Zack Wheeler and the Phillies are favored (-130) over the Mets on Friday night.
- Taijuan Walker will start for New York, which surely regrets letting Wheeler leave in free agency.
- Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and delivers his pick below.
Phillies vs. Mets Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
The Mets and the Phillies enter this game as the two dunces of the National League East.
Entering play on Friday, the Braves are holding serve in the NL East mostly by not being New York or Philadelphia. The Phillies are three games back despite an easy schedule, and the Mets are 5 1/2 games back after getting swept by St. Louis.
Luckily for Philadelphia, they have their NL Cy Young Award candidate on the mound tonight opposite a Mets pitcher who hasn’t had much recent success.
Do the Mets have any value as short home favorites, or are the Phillies an auto-bet with their ace on the mound?
Phillies Riding Harper’s Hot Bat
Bryce Harper should be the NL Most Valuable Player Award winner.
Harper’s been elite all season, but he’s been particularly elite recently.
Not only is Harper working on a 12-game hit streak, in which he’s hit seven home runs during that time, he has a 1.282 OPS since August started. In that 42-game stretch, here’s Harper’s resume:
- He’s batting .349.
- Harper has walked 33 times to 33 strikeouts, posting a .467 OBP in the process.
- The former NL MVP is slugging .815 thanks to 17 home runs and 33 extra-base hits.
- He has driven in 39 runs.
- Harper has gone over 1.5 total bases in 30 of those contests.
Plus, he now leads MLB in OPS for the season, at 1.055.
But the rest of the team is letting him down.
Literally Bryce Harper on the Phillies pic.twitter.com/OGtwl5ShOo
— Justin Lever 💚⚾️ (@JustinLever3) September 15, 2021
During this 12-game hit streak, the Phillies are 5-7, which includes dropping three of four to the Rockies at home. The rest of the offense has not helped Harper out, while the pitching has been below average at best.
Luckily, Harper gets to bat behind one of the best pitchers in baseball tonight.
Starting pitcher: Zack Wheeler (RHP)
Wheeler has consistently been one of the best pitchers in baseball, currently sitting with the fourth-shortest odds to win the NL Cy Young Award on DraftKings (+2000).
Wheeler pairs his 2.86 ERA with a 2.78 xERA and 2.88 xFIP, and I’m expecting no signs of regression from him today. On top of that, he’s a strikeout machine, averaging close to 11 K’s per nine innings, as well as striking out six or more in 24 of his 29 starts and leading the NL in strikeouts.
Perhaps Wheeler’s biggest strength, however, is how many innings he pitches. Nobody has thrown as many innings as Wheeler this season (195 1/3), and he’s averaging almost 6 2/3 innings per start.
His ability to pitch a lot of quality innings has made Wheeler a WAR hero. He leads the entire NL in bWAR (6.9), including position players, and is second in the NL in pitching fWAR (6.5).
Wheeler struggled mightily in August but has tossed two gems so far through September:
- Sept. 6 @ MIL: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 9 K, 0 BB
- Sept. 11 vs. COL: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 8 K, 2 BB
The Phillies won both of those contests by a combined score of 18-1.
Can the Mets Get Going?
I sympathize with Mets fans, as the team has suffered too many injuries to really compete in the playoffs. However, their second half has been even worse than expected.
The Mets are 16-27 since August started, posting the 17th best wRC+ (96) and the 17th best FIP (4.33). The starting pitching has been mediocre, the lineup has underperformed, and the once dominant bullpen has performed just league average.
However, if you want to look on the bright side, the Mets two All-Star shortstops have been raking this month.
Francisco Lindor and Javier Báez have combined for 10 home runs and 24 RBIs in the 15 games since September started, with Lindor posting a 1.024 OPS and Báez at 1.230 OPS.
Hopefully the two can combine and provide some much needed run support for their starting pitcher:
Starting pitcher: Taijuan Walker (RHP)
What was once a promising season for Walker has turned disastrous.
In Walker’s last 10 starts, he’s pitched 50 innings with a 7.38 ERA. Miraculously, he hasn’t been unlucky but just bad, as he’s posted a 7.11 xERA and a .252 BABIP during the stretch.
Perhaps the biggest issue has been the long ball. On the season, Walker is allowing around 1.5 HRs per nine innings with a 14% HR/FB rate. But during this 10 game stretch, those numbers have jumped to 3.06 and 23.3%.
Walker’s a four-seam pitcher, and that’s the pitch that’s caused him a lot of trouble recently. Which makes sense, as hitters are more likely to destroy a mid-90s fastball rather than a down-and-away slider. However, it seems like his fastball has been progressively getting less effective since May:
He simply isn’t doing the Mets any favors. New York is 2-8 in the last 10 Walker starts, and Walker hasn’t registered a win during that stretch — just six losses.
While I want to be sharp in this game, this pick seems like a no-brainer: I’m backing Wheeler and the Phillies as shorter road favorites.
However, maybe it’s not the worst pick in the world. We have tracked sharp money on the Phillies, as they opened at -115 and we’re quickly bet up to -130 or higher.
I’m expecting Wheeler to shut down the Mets lineup, including Lindor and Báez, while Harper and the Phillies give Walker his seventh straight loss.
Give me the Phillies at anything better than -135.
Pick: Phillies ML (-130 , play to -135)