New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrates with Pete Alonso
New York Mets' Brandon Nimmo (9) celebrates with Pete Alonso (20) after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

SGG Pick of the Day: NY Mets vs Boston, Sept. 21

Mike Shara

Interleague play is a mixed bag for bettors, filled with pitfalls and uncertainty. There is relatively little familiarity between the teams involved and therefore not a lot of history to go on. Therefore, looking at the teams’ recent play might be of more assistance to you as you try to sort out your betting strategy tonight.

The Red Sox (-150 on DraftKings) will start Eduardo Rodriguez (11-9, 5.00 ERA in 142.1 innings) and the Mets (+130) will start Marcus Stroman (9-12, 2.88 in 169 innings). The pitching matchup clearly favors New York. Stroman has been the victim of some poor run support this year (that will be a theme that recurs here), but he is eighth in the National League in ERA and in the top 20 in WHIP. The Mets are 5-4 as underdogs with Stroman on the mound. Rodriguez has had three very good starts in his last five, but those were all on the road. His last two home starts have been awful – he allowed 11 earned runs and lasted just 7.1 innings total. Most Mets hitters have little history vs. Rodriguez, and those that do have really poor numbers, batting a collective .214/236/.357 against him.

As for the Mets’ offense, well…how to phrase this diplomatically…it is…not good, ranking 20th in MLB in batting average (.239), 25th in slugging percentage and 24th in home runs. They may be the ideal opponent for Rodriguez to regain his form at home. They couldn’t score more than three runs in any of their three games vs. a below average Phillies pitching staff this past weekend, and they have won just once in their last six, rendering themselves all but irrelevant in the NL Wild Card race.

Because he spent six seasons in the American League with the Blue Jays, Stroman does have some history with Boston hitters, and he’s generally fared pretty well against a team that’s known for their offensive prowess. J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers haven’t had much success against him, though Xander Bogaerts has fared well, batting .306/.342/.528 in 36 career at-bats vs. Stroman. Bogaerts has been hot lately too, with nine hits in his last six games.

THE PICK: Take the Red Sox. They’re at full strength again after a team wide Covid outbreak that sidelined many key players a few weeks back. They’ve won 60% of their games as betting favorites this season, are 6-1 in their last seven as favorites and appear to be rallying at the right time. The Mets have been unreliable and mostly disappointing all year long and win less than 22% of games when they are an underdog of +130 or more.

The over/under for this game is 9 on DraftKings. I like the under. Despite Boston’s offense being decidedly better at home than on the road, it’s hard to imagine the Red Sox blowing the Mets out as long as Stroman is on the mound and the Mets’ offence has been pretty listless of late. I also might go under the +1.5 spread for the Red Sox – this feels like a classic heartbreaking 3-2 loss the Mets have nearly perfected this season. In close games, I also would prefer my money to be in Boston manager Alex Cora’s hands than in Luis Rojas’ (and I think Mets fans would all agree with me).

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