Two teams trying to stay close in the National League
playoff races hook up this weekend when the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York
Mets play a three-game series at Citi Field starting Friday night. Who are we
backing for our MLB bets?
To set the scene for this series, neither comes in on a
roll, and both have been losing ground in the battles for NL playoff spots. LA
just broke a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory over Philadelphia (The Phillies play the Giants in my other pick) Wednesday, while NY broke a six-game losing streak with a 9-5 win over
So the Dodgers, at 49-44, begin this weekend 2.5 games
behind division-leading San Francisco in the NL West.
The Mets, meanwhile, at 47-45, are now seven games behind
the first-place Nationals in the NL East.
LA also sits two games back of Atlanta in the battle for the
second NL Wild-Card spot, while New York is 3.5 games behind the Braves.
To begin this series the Mets will send Johan Santana (6-6,
3.59) to the mound Friday night against Aaron Harang (6-5, 3.53) for the
Santana is nine-for-18 on quality starts this year, and the
Mets are 9-9 in his starts. In his first start post-All-Star break Santana got
bombed for six runs on eight hits in five innings vs. the Braves last Sunday,
and in his last start before the break he allowed seven runs on 13 hits in less
than five innings vs. the Cubs. So Santana will be looking to reverse that
On the season Santana has given up 95 hits in 108 innings,
and owns a 3/1 K/BB ratio at 102/35.
In his only start this season vs. the Dodgers three weeks
ago Santana got a win by throwing eight innings of three-hit, shut-out ball.
But that was against an LA lineup without both Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier.
On the other side of this pitching matchup Harang is
eight-for-18 in quality starts this year, and the Dodgers are 9-9 in games he's
started. In his first outing after the All-Star break the big right-hander
allowed three earned runs on four hits through seven innings vs. the Padres
On the season Harang has given up 102 hits in 107 innings,
walked 45 and struck out 82.
In his only start this year vs. the Mets three weeks ago
Harang took a loss, giving up four ER on seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3
As of early Friday morning the best price we could find on
New York for Friday's game was the -144 offered at Matchbook, while LA could be
gotten at +141 at 5Dimes. The Mets could also be played at upwards of +150 on
the run line at several baseball betting outlets.
Most online sportsbooks are also listing the total on
Friday's game at 7.5.
In early betting on Friday's game about 55 percent of play
on the side was coming in on New York, while about 55 percent of the action on
the total was coming in on the 'over.'
New York is a lopsided 53-35 on the 'over/unders' this
season, but almost all of that split has come on the road, because the totals
are 22-22 in games played at Citi Field.
In the only previous meeting this season between these two
teams the Mets took three out of four games from the Dodgers also at Citi Field
three weeks ago.
Free MLB Pick
Neither of these teams comes in playing very well recently,
and ditto for the starting pitchers. But one item pushes us in the direction of
a pick; the New York bullpen, which ranks dead last in the Majors with a 5.03
ERA and owns 16 blown saves, second-most in baseball. So we'll go with Los
Angeles and the underdog price for Friday.