After a break that certainly felt like more than just a couple of days, it’s time to get back into the grind of the MLB regular season. The Mets and Dodgers are kicking things off with an intriguing matchup between a former New York squad, and the one that arose to fill the void they left. Let’s take a look at the odds for this NL clash, where my prediction is a Mets win and for the under to hit for a total of 8.5 runs.
Dodgers Vs. Mets Prediction
Before the All Star break, it looked like this Mets team was finally starting to figure it out as they ripped off a 6-game winning streak. They did lose their final two games before the pause, but the aura around this team has definitely changed to a degree. As for the Dodgers, they’re back on top in the NL West, or at least tied with the upstart Diamondbacks.
Julio Urías has had a really rough go of it since getting hurt and making his return. Over the past two years, he led the NL in ERA in 2022, and posted a sub-3 ERA with 20 wins in 2021, but he’s tossing a 4.76 this year. Looking at his statcast, the main negative trend is his declining velocity, but that began last year and the results were fine. It’ll be interesting to see if the rest provided from the break can be a boost to him.
Then there’s Justin Verlander, the all-time great righty starting for the Mets on Friday night. He’s had an up-and-down first season in New York, as he used a couple of strong recent starts to drag his ERA back down below 4.00 after a rough stretch in late May and most of June really sent it up high. His fastball has also slowed down a bit, while opponents are striking out less and hitting the ball way harder. He’s another guy who could really benefit from the rest afforded by the Midsummer Classic.
While both of these pitchers have had a tough year, they’re still high-caliber arms. Urías is still in his mid-20s, so he shouldn’t really be in decline, and Verlander is now 40, but secured his second Cy Young since 2019 last year; I doubt he’s really done. I like the under for this reason, and because the bats may need a chance to get back into rhythm after the break. I’m also going to take the Mets, who were surging a bit before the break, and are trotting out the pitcher in decidedly less-rough form.
Dodgers Vs. Mets Prediction: Mets ML (+105), u8.5 (-105)
Dodgers Vs. Mets Odds
The Mets are slight home underdogs with +105 odds, while the Dodgers are -125 to win. For a run scoring line of 8.5, the under is -105 and the over is -115
Dodgers Vs. Mets Key Matchups
Justin Verlander Vs. Top of the Lineup
In today’s game, we see a lot of pitchers struggling the second and especially third time through the lineup as batters really dial in on their tendencies. Verlander, however, has been getting crushed in the first inning, where he’s posting a 6.00 ERA. This does make sense to a degree, as the first inning will always include most of the team’s best hitters.
The Dodgers are no exception, as their lineup is as top-heavy as it gets. Their first four guys were actually all selected as All Stars this year, with three serving as the 2-3-4 stretch in the National League lineup. In LA’s own lineup, however, they bat 1-2-4, with Will Smith, the lone All Star reserve, sandwiched in at the 3-spot. Smith has had a really nice season at the plate, his .889 OPS number is especially exceptional for a catcher.
The three All Star starters are some of the more dangerous bats in the game, two have been MVPs and the third has been a top-4 finisher. That odd man out is JD Martinez, who is having a really nice season at the plate once again as LA’s cleanup hitter. He’s joined by his former Red Sox teammate Mookie Betts, the team’s leadoff man, who amazingly leads the team with 26 home runs (Martinez is next with 22) and OPS (.964). The team’s OPS runner-up is the steady Freddie Freeman, who is hitting the ball really well, as always.
Julio Urías Vs. Power Hitters
Urías has really struggled with keeping the ball in the park, as he’s allowed 2 home runs per 9 innings of work. He isn’t allowing tons of line drives as his hard hit rate is 85th percentile, but his barrel rate is 31st and his xSLG is 24th, so the ball is definitely going up in the air and traveling a long way.
When we’re talking about the Mets and power hitting, obviously we have to talk about Pete Alonso. He may not have won the Home Run Derby again, but he might be having his best power season since his historic rookie campaign. He’s not getting many other hits, but his 26 home runs thus far are good for second-best in the National League. Next up is Francisco Lindor, who has accumulated 19 long balls so far. That puts him in a good position to chase his career high of 38, set back in 2018, and should be his best power season as a Met.
Lastly, there’s another Francisco, rookie catcher Álvarez. He’s hit 17 homers so far, and has a very impressive OPS of .809- outside of Smith, you don’t see too many catchers doing too much better, especially rookies. The Mets lineup’s ability to do some damage against a very cold Urías is a major reason I have them hitting their +105 moneyline in my Dodgers vs. Mets prediction.
Dodgers Vs. Mets Starting Lineups
Dodgers Starting Lineup
RF M. Betts R
1B F. Freeman L
C W. Smith R
DH J. Martinez R
3B M. Muncy L
SS M. Rojas R
2B M. Vargas R
CF J. Outman L
LF J. Deluca R
Mets Starting Lineup
CF B. Nimmo L
LF T. Pham R
SS F. Lindor S
1B P. Alonso R
2B J. McNeil L
RF S. Marte R
C F. Alvarez R
3B B. Baty L
DH M. Canha R