There are few teams in MLB that have gotten off to a better start than the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets.
Despite a lot of roster turnover, the Giants have stormed off to a 7-4 start. However, these Giants just dropped the first two games of this four-game series against the Mets.
Meanwhile, New York is 9-3 in its first 12 games despite losing All-World pitcher Jacob deGrom for the first two months. The Mets have yet to lose a series and the bats are actually getting on the ball.
But can the Mets sweep the reigning NL West champs with Carlos Carrasco on the mound?
Let’s dive into the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for Thursday’s game three.
San Francisco Giants vs New York Mets Odds
Can’t help but to look San Francisco’s way when the Giants are underdogs. The Giants went 37-25 straight up as underdogs last season, and betting them in every one of those games would’ve netted you over 21 units of profit.
I tend not to trust Carrasco, but he has pitched to a .84 ERA through two starts this season. Despite allowing just one earned run over 10 ⅔ innings, the Mets lost both of those games, generating only four runs of support for Carrasco.
We may have to get creative with this game.
San Francisco Giants Starting Lineup
RF Mike Yastrzemski L
1B Brandon Belt L
DH Darin Ruf R
LF Joc Pederson L
SS Brandon Crawford L
3B Wilmer Flores R
2B Thairo Estrada R
CF Steven Duggar L
C Joey Bart R
San Francisco Giants vs Carlos Carrasco
Plus, Carrasco has been excellent against San Francisco in the past.
He made one start against the Giants last season, pitching seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball. He also struck out five in the start and walked none. He pitched to a 3.25 xFIP but only allowed a .175 wOBA on batted balls.
After raking from the plate last season, the Giants might be a little vulnerable in 2022. With the roster turnover, San Fran has been a league-average offense through the first 11 games (98 wRC+).
It’s also been a rough road for the Giants so far. In 192 away PAs, the Giants are 23rd in wRC+ so far (84) with a lousy .634 OPS.
It’s worth zeroing in on Brandon Belt, who actually leads the majors in slugging since the beginning of the 2020 COVID season. He’s already smashed three homers this year, and he’s added seven walks to just 10 strikeouts.
The plate discipline is particularly impressive for Belt. He hasn’t posted a walk rate under 10% since 2014, eclipsing 12.5% in five of those seasons.
But against Carrasco, Belt is 0-for-5 with four strikeouts and just one walk. And against Carrasco, the lineup as a whole has a lifetime xBA under .200.
New York Mets Starting Lineup
LF Jeff McNeil L
RF Starling Marte R
SS Francisco Lindor S
1B Pete Alonso R
3B Eduardo Escobar S
2B Robinson Cano L
DH Dominic Smith L
CF Travis Jankowski L
C James McCann R
New York Mets vs Anthony DeSclafani
Disco DeSclafani put together a career year in 2021, pitching 167 innings with a 3.17 ERA as San Fran’s No. 2 starter. His 3.0 fWAR was the highest since 2015, his first season in Cincinnati.
Is it repeatable?
Probably not. The projection market is rather low on Disco, but I think he could keep his xFIP in the 3.50 range if he keeps his HR rate below 15% and his GB rate above 40%. That’s a tough ask for a guy who generally is a fly-ball pitcher, but I consider it somewhat likely.
The Mets lineup is the big surprise of this season. Through 12 games, the Mets have mashed to a .758 OPS and a 125 wRC+, both numbers that are top-five in the league.
Francisco Lindor had a big second-half last season, and he is really building on it through 12 games in 2022. He’s already accrued 1.0 WAR, hitting .310 with a 1.061 OPS, 3 HRs, 9 RBIs, and 3 SBs. And his 6:9 K/BB ratio means his OBP is sitting up near .450. Great start to the year.
Francisco Lindor since May 29th 2021:
.263/.355/.509 (.864 OPS)
3.6 fWAR pic.twitter.com/IRgwPjm5Pw
— We Gotta Believe (@GottaBelievePod) April 20, 2022
Disco has been successful against the Mets lineup, holding the whole team under a .200 xBA. But Lindor is 5-for-12 with two dingers against DeSclafani, so keep an eye on Lindor player props.
San Francisco Giants vs New York Mets Picks & Prediction
My pick: San Francisco Giants ML (+117 at WynnBet)
This is the best line available, but it’s worth line shopping to find something in the +105 to +110 area.
Either way, this line is moving towards the Giants. And I think it’s because San Francisco is always worth betting as an underdog.
Carrasco is not going to pitch to a sub-1.00 ERA for this season, and he is probably due for a regression outing. Moreover, I think this starting pitching and bullpen matchup is much closer than one might think.
The Mets probably deserve a bit of negative regression behind the plate, too. New York ranks in the bottom three in both hard-hit rate (34.9%) and average exit velocity (86.8mph). That feels unsustainable.
I’ll take a shot with the Giants at plus-money tomorrow.