The San Diego Padres and the New York Mets will square off tonight in the first game of a three-game set at Citi Field.
Mets fans could not have hoped for a better first-half of the season. The Mets finished 58-35 and will welcome back a healthy Jacob deGrom on Wednesday. Although the Atlanta Braves are closing in on New York’s NL East lead, the return of deGrom should give the Amazins an emotional boost as they march into October.
The Padres stumbled into the All-Star break, going 5-7 since July 4. San Diego is 10.5 games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, sitting at 52-42.
Fernando Tatis Jr. cannot come back soon enough. The star shortstop swung a bat for the first time during his rehab last week, but he remains week-to-week. As Padres fans await Tatis, maybe they will be in for a Soto surprise come the trade deadline.
Max Scherzer (6-1, 2.22 ERA) will take the mound for the Mets tonight and look to turn in another vintage performance. The three-time Cy Young winner has been undeniable this season, and although he has missed time and is not getting any younger, the Mets will not reach the World Series if he is not in top-form come October.
San Diego will turn to Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.41 ERA). Darvish has been up-and-down recently, but he will hope to replicate a stand-out outing against the Mets in June, fanning six and giving up no runs in seven innings of work.
Let’s dive into this matchup between these two squads with big playoff hopes.
Max is Mad
Scherzer is a terminator. The 37-year-old just seems to be throwing the clock back every year.
He has an absurd .88 WHIP and is one of two pitchers 37 years or older, along with Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson, to have struck out 90+ batters with a sub-0.90 WHIP in their first 11 starts.
Bringing stability and a vast swath of pitching knowledge to the Mets rotation, Scherzer has been everything team owner Steve Cohen could have asked for when he inked the right-hander to a three-year, $130 million deal.
The Mets win when Scherzer starts, going 8-3. Mad Max should unleash fury on a Padres offense that is middle-of-the-pack in scoring runs and desperately struggles to hit homers.
Darvish piled up the strikeouts in July. The 35-year-old righty punched out 25 batters in three starts, with 10 coming against the formidable Dodgers in LA. Although he earned five against the Dodgers, Darvish has not been blown-up since the beginning of June.
Regression should be coming for Darvish against a Mets squad that should be motivated to hammer a pitcher that dominated them earlier in the season. New York is stronger against right-handers, having a .734 OPS and launching 65 long-balls.
Scherzer should create a nice cushion for the Mets tonight, who will look to come out of the gates hungry to score runs.
It is hard to fade Scherzer, especially when he is well-rested. New York is also a great home team, going 28-15 at Citi Field.
Take the Mets -1.5 (+118 at Caesars Sportsbook).
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