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Reds vs. Mets Pick & Preview: Is New York Worth Bet as Favorite? (Saturday, July 31)

Reds vs. Mets Pick & Preview: Is New York Worth Bet as Favorite? (Saturday, July 31) article feature image

Steven Ryan/Getty Images. Pictured: Rich Hill.

  • The New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds will continue their weekend series on Saturday at Citi Field.
  • The Mets are slight favorites over the Reds according to the betting odds. Do they have value at home on Saturday night?

Reds vs. Mets Odds

Reds Odds+100
Mets Odds-120
Over/Under8.5 (-115/-105)
Time7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings.

Behind homers from Joey Votto and Jonathan India, the Reds and their new-look bullpen dominated the Mets in game one of this series.

In fact, the Reds will be vying for their fifth-straight win tonight. Meanwhile, the Mets have lost three of their last four and are trying to stay atop the NL East despite devastating injury trouble.

Luckily, thanks to the trade deadline, the Mets have two new faces in the clubhouse to alleviate those worries.

So, can the revamped Mets come together and even the series tonight?

Reds Added Bullpen Firepower

Votto is firing on all cylinders.

He just homered for the seventh straight game; the MLB record is eight. He has 42 RBIs over his last 45 games played, and is batting .311 with a 1.056 OPS in that timeframe. He’s been the leader of a Reds squad that has posted a .768 OPS and a .334 wOBA over the past 30 days.

However, he’s also the leader of a Reds squad whose playoff hopes have been dashed. The Reds are seven games out of the division and five out of the second Wild Card spot, and it seems impossible the Reds will make a big enough push to erase either deficit.

But the Reds still made improvements at the deadline. Specifically, in the bullpen, where they added Luis Cessa, Justin Wilson and Mychal Givens. Addressing bullpen depth is massive for a team that ranks 28th in reliever FIP this season (4.84).

Among that group, Cessa is the big name. As part of the Yankees bullpen, Cessa posted a 2.75 ERA in 28 appearances this season. Cessa’s batted ball statistics are particularly impressive, where his slider-heavy approach (Cessa throws a slider 60% of the time) has led to an average exit velocity (86.7 mph) and hard-hit rate (30.4%) that ranks among the top 10% of qualified pitchers.

The Reds need Castellanos back. He hasn’t played since July 19 – being held on the IL with wrist issues – but there have been reports that he began rehab. If the Reds want to win, the All-Star’s bat is of the upmost importance.

Starting pitcher: Wade Miley (LHP)

I am Wade Miley’s biggest fan.

Over his past 11 starts, Miley has posted a 2.83 ERA while averaging close to 6 1/3 innings per start. Predictably, the Reds are 8-3 in those contests.

While he largely pitches to contact (26th percentile in whiff rate, 18th percentile in strikeout rate), the southpaw’s cutter-changeup is limiting hard contact at league-high rates. He throws the cutter just 85 mph and the changeup 80 mph, but he’s limiting exit velocity on the two pitches to about 83 mph:

Thus, Miley’s 85.4 mph average exit velocity ranks among the top five percent of qualified pitchers. And, as you can see from his numbers, Miley is reaping the benefits.

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Did Mets Do Enough At Deadline?

There are some fun new faces on the Mets following the trade deadline. And, given the laundry list of injuries in Flushing right now, reinforcements are more than needed.

To address the Francisco Lindor injury (three-to-five week estimated return), the Mets acquired Javier Baez. The Baez-Lindor connection goes back to their childhood days in Puerto Rico, and then to being taken with the eighth and ninth picks in the 2011 draft, and now to playing side-by-side in New York.

Both shortstops are having down years, and Baez’s free-swinging approach (36.3% strikeout rate) leads to a low floor. However, the potential upside from pairing these two with Pete Alonso and Co. is tremendous.

To address injuries to starting pitchers (deep breath) Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard, David Peterson, Jordan Yammamoto, Joey Lucchesi and Jacob deGrom, the Mets went and bought today’s starter:

Starting pitcher: Rich Hill (LHP)

What does 41-year-old Rich Hill offer the New York Mets?

Exactly what the Mets need: a steady, middle-rotation arm. He averages five innings per start (100 1/3 innings pitched in 20 starts this season) with a sub-4.00 ERA and a sub-1.20 WHIP.

He’s no Jacob deGrom – who the Mets will desperately need come October – but he gives the Mets potentially revamped offense a chance to win. Which is what Hill did last Sunday, where he pitched five innings of three-run ball in a 5-4 Mets victory.

Hill throws a four-seam and a curveball more than 80% of the time, and while neither pitch will wow you, both have serious movement that tends to keep opponents’ numbers relatively low. Hill’s curveball has been particularly effective, holding hitters to a .194 BA and a .269 SLG.

Reds-Mets Pick

After a 6-2, dominant win yesterday, my initial lean in this game was the Reds. But after digging a little deeper, it’s clear the Mets are the pick in this game.

Mostly because in a lefty vs. lefty matchup, the Mets offense has the clear advantage. Against southpaws over the past 30 days, the Mets have posted an .818 OPS and a .357 wOBA, while their 128 wRC+ ranks fourth in MLB.

Meanwhile, against southpaws on the road over the past 30 days, the Reds have posted just a .686 OPS and a .301 wOBA, good for a measly 88 wRC+.

Plus, while the Reds bullpen is revamped and ready to roll, the Mets still have a clear advantage in the ‘pen. The Mets relievers have posted the fourth best FIP in MLB over the past seven days (3.07).

While I prefer Miley over Hill as a starting pitcher, everything else is pointing Mets in this matchup. Expect New York to even the series and bet them as a short favorite in this spot.

Pick: Mets ML (-120)

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