MLB Odds & Pick for Yankees vs. Mets: The Total Play in the Subway Series Finale (Sunday, Sept. 12)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Yankees star Aaron Judge.
- The Yankees and Mets finish the Subway Series at Citi Field on Sunday.
- Both New York teams have split the weekend's series as the Mets and Yankees fight for playoff position
- Zean Zerillo explains below why his preferred bet focus on the game's total.
Yankees vs. Mets Odds
|Over/Under||8.5 (-110 / -110)|
|Time||7:08 p.m. ET|
Both the New York Mets and New York Yankees have had tumultuous 2021 campaigns, and the crosstown rivals will conclude their season series on Sunday Night Baseball, with both teams in pursuit of a playoff spot.
The Mets held a four-game lead in the National League East at the start of August, despite a litany of position-player injuries throughout the first four months of the season. After the trade deadline, they held a 65.7% chance of winning their division and a 67% chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs.
However, the Mets hit a wall in August, finishing 9-19 on the month without the presence of Jacob deGrom, and as of Friday, FanGraphs pegs their divisional odds at 4% and playoff odds at 5.7%. PECOTA is more optimistic on the rest-of-season outlook, putting their chances at 12.2% and 13%, respectively:
The Yankees struggled during the first half of the season, including a pair of sub. 500 months (12-14) in April and June, but the Bronx Bombers caught fire shortly after the trade deadline, ripping off a 13-game winning streak from August 14-28.
Their playoff odds peaked at 97.8% (per FanGraphs) toward the end of that run, but have fallen to 56.5% per FanGraphs, and 68.4% per PECOTA, after a 3-8 start to September. Meanwhile, their AL East rivals in Boston and Toronto have surged back into the wild-card race, alongside the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners, who all sit within two games of the AL’s final playoff spot:
With roughly 20 games remaining in the regular season, the Mets and Yankees desperately need a win on Sunday Night baseball.
Below, I’ll preview both sides of this contest, provide my projections for the first five innings (F5) and the full game and offer my thoughts on the best ways to bet on this marquee matchup.
Yankees Dealing With Injuries Galore on Mound
The Yankees’ rotation is in a bit of an injury bind at present, particularly after Gerrit Cole left his start on Sept. 7 with a hamstring strain. The team expects Cole to start Tuesday against the Orioles if everything goes OK with Sunday’s bullpen session.
Jameson Taillon is currently out with an ankle injury; Domingo German is working his way back from shoulder inflammation; and, Corey Kluber has been underwhelming in his three starts since returning from the Injured List (11.2 IP, 14 H, 11 R, 7 BB, 17 K), including a short Saturday outing against the Mets.
That leaves either Andrew Heaney (3.95 xERA, 4.15 xFIP, 3.86 SIERA) or rookie Clarke Schmidt (projected 4.23 FIP) as potential starters, with the Yankees’ bullpen expected to eat a good chunk of the innings in this contest.
Heaney is one of the most Jekyll-and-Hyde pitchers in baseball, with solid metrics and stuff, but a clear aversion to consistency. His results since the trade deadline (30.1 IP; 7.71 ERA; 5.22 xFIP; 9 BB; 31 K; 11 HR allowed) are a mixed bag. The southpaw has shown good command while allowing a 55% flyball rate (39% career) and a 22% HR/FB (15.7% career) in the Bronx.
The long ball has been a problem throughout Heaney’s career. Since entering the league in 2014, he ranks 325th out of 339 qualified pitchers in HR/9 (1.60) and 314th amongst that same HR/FB rate group. That said, Heaney still has the potential to perform as a league-average pitcher (projected FIP range 4.29-4.54) moving forward once his power metrics regress toward his career norms.
Schmidt hasn’t pitched much this season after sustaining an elbow injury in spring training. Still, he owns a couple of plus pitches in his fastball (60 grade) and curveball (70 grade) to go along with a fringe changeup and acceptable command. He projects as a bullpen piece instead of a starter moving forward, given his injury history and arsenal, but he’s capable of turning over the Mets lineup a couple of times.
Clarke Schmidt is absolutely disgusting. 🤮 pic.twitter.com/AoHpM1Qwr7
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) February 27, 2020
The Yankees’ bullpen will be key in determining how this matchup plays out. Their season-long metrics are outstanding, ranking second in xFIP (3.87); third in SIERA (3.64); and, third in K-BB% (17.0%). And they have remained a top-three bullpen since the trade deadline, despite a season-ending injury to Zack Britton, who largely struggled this season (5.00 xFIP; 5.06 SIERA).
Despite all of his detractors, manager Aaron Boone does a good job of keeping his bullpen fresh. I go through reliever usage daily and rarely mark Yankees’ relievers as tired. For Sunday night’s contest, Albert Abreu (pitched both Friday and Saturday) is their only pitcher who is seemingly unavailable.
The Yankees do lose their DH spot in an NL park, which hurts them more than it would most teams since Giancarlo Stanton (11 HR, .940 OPS, 155 wRC+ since August 1) is likely relegated to a pinch-hitter role. Perhaps Stanton starts in left field for the second consecutive day, in place of Joey Gallo (88 wERC+, 41.2% K% since August 1), who has really struggled since arriving in New York.
Gallo (14 Defensive Runs Saved, 8th in MLB) is quietly one of the best defenders in baseball, and Stanton (-1 DRS since 2019) represents a defensive downgrade, but he’s seeing the ball much better at the plate of late.
The Yankees rank 28th in team defense on the season, with -37 DRS, and shortstop Gleyber Torres (-10 DRS) has been terrible, ranking as the second-worst defensive shortstop in baseball.
On a per-inning basis, Torres is one of the worst defenders at any position dating back to 2003 and a tad worse than recent Hall-of-Fame inductee Derek Jeter, who has become underrated for his bat and wildly overrated for his glove (-162 DRS from 2003-2014).
In terms of offensive splits, the Yankees remain much more effective against left-handed pitching (108 wRC+) than against righties (96 wRC+), with all of the right-handed power in their lineup, which should give a slight boost to Mets’ starter Carlos Carrasco in this matchup.
Carrasco Doing His Part to Keep Mets Alive
Carrasco (4.18 xERA, 3.74 xFIP, 3.92 SIERA) has helped keep the Mets afloat in deGrom’s absence. The veteran righty suffered a hamstring tear in spring training but has rounded into form after getting a few starts under his belt while displaying his typically excellent command (32 K, 6 BB) in recent outings.
Carrasco offers a five-pitch mix (four-seam, sinker, changeup, slider and curveball), with the non-fastball offerings standing out as his three most valuable pitches.
Carlos Carrasco, Wicked 88mph Changeup and 87mph Slider. 🤢🍪 2 Ks. pic.twitter.com/AYNNSsL3h5
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 16, 2020
As a team, the Yankees crush fastballs and curveballs, but have proven much less effective against sliders (14th in pitch value) and changeups (30th).
Typically, pitchers tend to reserve their changeup against opposite-handed hitters. Still, Carrasco has grown more comfortable throwing righty on righty changeups in the past two years, and he’s going to need to throw his best pitch quite often against a mostly-righty Yankees lineup:
The Mets’ bullpen has been both underwhelming (4.55 xFIP; 4.02 SIERA; 14.4% K-BB%) and overworked since the trade deadline, despite season-long metrics (4.17 xFIP; 3.84 SIERA; 15.7% K-BB%), which ranks them closer to a top-eight bullpen.
A pair of lefties — Brad Hand and Aaron Loup — have worked three out of the past five days (four in six for Hand), and righty Jeurys Familia would also be making his fourth appearance in six days if he enters this game. The starting pitching situation is clearer, but their bullpen is a little more banged up than the Yankees’ group of relievers.
The Mets feature a much better defensive lineup (54 DRS, T-5th) than the Yankees, but their offense has been in a funk all season, and particularly since the trade deadline (95 wRC+, 20th).
Since that time, they have chased pitches outside of the zone (35.2%), more frequently than any team except for the Marlins (35.6%), and their contact rate (74.2%) and swinging-strike rate (13.2%) ranks 28th in MLB over that span.
Despite his thumb-war with the fans, Javier Baez has actually been a net-positive for the club (139 wRC+ with excellent defense and baserunning). Still, Francisco Lindor (95 wRC+), Jeff McNeil (48 wRC+), Dom Smith (25 wRC+), and James McCann (18 wRC+) have failed to produce for the past six weeks over a combined 354 plate appearances and have all but knocked their team out of the playoff hunt.
Yankees-Mets Projections & Pick
I projected the Mets as solid favorites both for the first five innings (F5) and full game, with roughly a 1% difference between the two halves:
I would bet the Yankees at odds of +133 or better on the F5 Moneyline and +127 or better for the full game, with either bet representing an edge of 2% or more compared to my projection. Conversely, I would need odds of -113 to bet the Mets F5 Moneyline or -108 to play their full game moneyline.
Regarding the total, I would bet an Under 8 at any plus-money price, or I would play an Over 7 at odds of -115 or better.
Plate umpire Lance Barksdale is one of the most profitable umpires for both home teams and Unders in our database, which lends further credence to both of those plays:
Data via Action Labs
However, the wind is blowing out relatively strong toward right field, which could help to negate some of that umpire boost toward the under.
Pick: Under 8.5 (bet to Under 8, +100)