Despite winning 101 games and leading the NL East nearly all season, the Mets’ season is already on the ropes. The Padres rocked Max Scherzer in Game 1 and will be looking to finalize a trip to the NLDS on Saturday night as they face Jacob deGrom. Can the Mets extend their season?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Saturday’s game at Citi Field.
San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets Betting Odds
The Mets are decisive home favorites at -180 on the moneyline. The over/under is set at just 6 runs.
The Mets are favored despite an ugly Game 1 loss, and Jacob deGrom is the reason. Are oddsmakers overestimating deGrom? The two-time Cy Young winner allowed a total of 14 earned runs over his final four starts of the season, and he battled a blister issue his last time out. With how dominant Blake Snell has been of late, I would’ve expected this line to be closer.
San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets Picks & Prediction
My pick: Mets -180
As long as he’s healthy, Jacob deGrom seems like the safer bet here. Blake Snell has been excellent lately, but I’m concerned about how long he’ll be able to stay in the game on the road against a deep lineup. The Mets already have two great contact hitters in the lineup in Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte. It seems like only a matter of time until Pete Alonso or another power threat starts driving them in.
The bad news is the Mets will need to win without an ace on the mound if they want to advance, but the good news is they’ll have one of baseball’s premier aces for Game 2.
San Diego Padres Starting Lineup
LF J. Profar S
RF J. Soto L
3B M. Machado R
DH J. Bell S
2B J. Cronenworth L
1B B. Drury R
SS H. Kim R
C A. Nola R
CF J. Azocar R
San Diego Padres vs. Jacob deGrom
Jacob deGrom has looked terrific more often than not since returning from the IL in early August, but it was a bit of a struggle down the stretch. deGrom’s ERA rose from 1.66 to 3.08 after his last four starts, culminating with a 5-run outing against the lowly A’s and a blister-marred start against the Braves.
Even amid his struggles, deGrom generated swings-and-misses. He had 39 strikeouts over 21 IP in those last four starts. A Padres team that hasn’t seen deGrom yet this season should still have a tough time as long as the Mets’ ace is actually healthy.
The Padres hit four home runs off of Max Scherzer, so anything is possible, but San Diego finished 21st in home runs this season. I don’t expect that level of success to be sustainable, though it’s worth noting deGrom’s struggles down the stretch came largely as a result of issues with home runs – specifically against the Braves.
Do the Padres have as many power threats as the Braves? No, but they do have depth on their side. Manny Machado and Juan Soto are obvious bats to watch. Machado has 10 home runs since the start of September, Game 1 included.
New York Mets Starting Lineup
CF B. Nimmo L
SS F. Lindor S
2B J. McNeil L
1B P. Alonso R
3B E. Escobar S
DH D. Vogelbach L
LF M. Canha R
RF T. Naquin L
C T. Nido R
New York Mets vs. Blake Snell
Blake Snell looked like someone who wouldn’t be in the Padres’ postseason rotation in the first half of the season. He was so dominant down the stretch that he’ll now find himself on the hill for Game 2.
Snell had a 3.38 ERA and 2.80 FIP across 24 starts this year, with a 1.20 WHIP and an excellent 12.0 K/9 rate. He had a 2.19 ERA over his last 14 starts and, contrary to deGrom, Snell posted a 0.72 ERA over his last final starts of the season.
The issue with Snell has always been control. He doesn’t allow many hits and generates strikeouts, but walks have plagued a few too many of his starts. Control issues also limit Snell’s length. His outings are notoriously short due to an elevated pitch count.
Fortunately for Snell, the Mets as a team don’t walk as often as you’d think, but they do have two of the game’s most patient hitters in Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha. The Padres also have a middling bullpen with some uncertainty in the closer’s role. If Snell can’t last more than five innings, advantage Mets. If the Mets hit like they did in Game 1, advantage Padres. Which will we get?