MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Reds vs. Mets: Does Carlos Carrasco Have Value in New York Debut? (Friday, July 30)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Reds vs. Mets: Does Carlos Carrasco Have Value in New York Debut? (Friday, July 30) article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Carlos Carrasco.

  • New York hosts the Reds on Friday to start a crucial three-game series.
  • Carlos Carrasco makes his Mets debut after successfully rehabbing from injury after his trade from Cleveland.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down the matchup below and explains why he's backing the Mets at Citi Field.

Reds vs. Mets Odds

Reds Odds-110
Mets Odds-110
Over/Under8.5 (-105/-115)
Time7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via DraftKings.

The Reds and Mets kick off a pivotal weekend series on Friday, as both continue their hunt for a playoff spot.

Cincinnati is starting to creep up on the Dodgers and Padres in the wild card, as they are only five games back heading into Friday. The Reds are a very interesting team because up until this point in the season, their offense has been incredible, their starting rotation has been solid, but they have the worst bullpen in all of baseball. However, they will send their best pitcher Sonny Gray to the mound in hopes he can give the bullpen a break.

The Mets are four games up in the NL East over the Braves and the Phillies entering this series and will hand the ball to Carlos Carrasco to make his 2021 season debut. Carrasco came over from Cleveland in the Francisco Lindor trade and has been injured up until this point in the season. If he can find his 2020 form, it could be a huge boost for the Mets, especially with Jacob deGrom currently on the IL.

Offensive Matchup

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds have one of the most electric offenses in all of baseball. As a team they have a .327 wOBA and 101 wRC+, which is the sixth best mark in all of baseball. Joey Votto, Kyle Farmer and Jonathan India all have been crushing the ball over the past month, as they all have a wOBA over .400 and Votto himself has homered in six straight games. However, the Reds are currently without one of their best hitters, Nick Castellanos, who is currently on the IL recovering from a wrist injury.

The Reds should have a good matchup against Carrasco tonight, because most of their success has come against right-handed pitching (.334 wOBA, 105 wRC+), as well as fastballs (+43.2 run value) and changeups (+11.7 run value), which are two of Carrasco's main pitches that he went to a combined 62% of the time in 2020.

New York Mets

The Mets offense since it has gotten healthy has been improving. Over the last 30 days they have a .338 wOBA and 116 wRC+, which is seventh best in MLB. Pete Alonso has been the catalyst, hitting 10 HRs and driving in 22 runs over that timespan as well. The problem for the Mets now is the injury bug has hit them again. Just as Lindor and Jeff McNeil started hitting the ball well, they both are now on the shelf for the next few weeks.

The matchup against Sonny Gray is going to be a difficult one for the Mets, because they do not hit right-handed pitching well (.307 wOBA & 86 wRC+), but they also have negative run values against three of Gray's top four pitches.

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Starting Pitching Matchup

Sonny Gray vs. Carlos Carrasco

2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Reds Starting Pitcher

Sonny Gray, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Sonny Gray is a positive regression candidate heading into August because his ERA is currently sitting at 4.50, but his xERA is at 3.79 and his xFIP is at 3.41. That positive regression should be coming on his sinker and curveball too, because although both pitches are allowing a wOBA over .330, the xwOBA allowed for both pitches is under .300.

One of the reasons Gray has been successful over his career is because he mixes his pitches incredibly well. He doesn't throw a single pitch over 30% of the time, which allows him to pitch according to the lineup he's facing. For Friday night, the Mets have negative run values against curveballs, fastballs, and sliders, but they have a positive run value against sinkers. So, I'd expect Gray to hold off on throwing a high percentage of sinkers and lean on his two main off-speed pitches.

Mets Starting Pitcher

Carlos Carrasco, RHP

2020 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Carlos Carrasco had a solid year in 2020, posting a 3.79 xERA and 3.65 xFIP. All of his pitches were pretty effective, but his slider was by far his best pitch. Opposing hitters have managed only a .177 average against it, and it's produced a 36.7% whiff rate. The Reds really struggle against sliders, as they have a -21.3 run value against them. Carrasco will need to be on point with his fastball and changeup because the Reds have a combined +54.6 run value against those two pitches.

Now, Carrasco is 34 and coming off a torn hamstring, so who know if we will be at the level he was in Cleveland.

Bullpen/Defensive Matchup

The Reds bullpen is an unmitigated disaster. They are in the bottom five of baseball in xFIP, ERA, LOB%, and HR/9. Cincinnati hasn't been able to find a closet because they're third in Major League Baseball with 20 blown saves, when no relievers individually has more than four.

The Mets bullpen is the reason why they are in first place in the NL East. New York has a 3.97 and 4.04 xFIP as a group, which are both top 10 in Major League Baseball. So, they will have a massive advantage in the later innings.

Reds-Mets Pick

Given the fact that Castellanos is out of the lineup and just how bad the Reds bullpen has been, I think there is some value on the Mets tonight. Carrasco has looked good in his rehab starts, so we will see if it translates over to the Major League level.

Since I have the Mets projected at -135, I think there is some value on them at -110 and would play them up to -120.

Pick: Mets -110

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