The New York Mets might currently be the most prolific offence in the National League, but on Tuesday when they host the Los Angeles Dodgers look for a low-scoring affair.
It’s true that the Mets have the highest runs-per-game rate so far, but at home they aren’t quite as potent as on the road (.238 batting average at Citi Field versus .277 elsewhere).
That split shouldn’t improve against Los Angeles’ ace Clayton Kershaw, who has absolutely owned the Mets in his career. Overall, he’s 5-0 with a 1.37 ERA and at Citi Field, he’s 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA. While
Kershaw is a good bet to pitch well, but his hitters have not lived up to a similar standard. They are second-to-last in runs scored-per-game in 2013. They won’t have it easy against New York pitcher Jonathon Niese, an above-average starter who has always thrown better when home than on the road.
In fact, this year, through four starts, he has a 2.13 ERA at Citi Field and a 5.73 ERA elsewhere. Kershaw’s talents make it a hard proposition to take the better-hitting Mets, so go with under 6.5 runs at 1.73, as a higher scoring result (which can be had at 2.15) isn’t likely.
Looking for a low risk pick: the Cincinnati Reds at home versus the Chicago Cubs is the way to go. Reds pitcher Tony Cingrani gets his second start of the season and should thrive.
In his first appearance, he struck out eight batters in five innings. What was impressive about the outing was how he used his curveball/slider more regularly than last year when he got a brief audition at the Major League level.
This off-speed pitch, which he throws at an average of 77 miles per hour is a great change of pace from his 92 mph fastball. The fact he’s using it more shows great confidence. While he beat the National League’s worst offensive team (Miami Marlins) in his first outing, he’s facing an almost as poor Cubs lineup, which is currently third-to-last in runs scored per game.
The Reds bullpen has not been as reliable as expected so far, but again, they should be okay with the Chicago lineup; plus, the team’s closer, Aroldis Chapman does remain dominant.
So even though the Cubs’ starter Carlos Villanueva is underrated (he sports a 1.29 ERA), the weakness of his team’s offence will be the difference maker. Go with Cincinnati at 1.57, instead of Chicago at 2.45.
Best Bet: Back the Cincinnati Reds against the Chicago Cubs at 1.57
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