One of the hottest teams in baseball will match up with one of the worst teams since the trade deadline tonight, with the Chicago Cubs in New York to take on the Mets. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing.
A good indicator of how well a team is playing this season is if they can beat the Atlanta Braves in a series, and over the weekend, the Chicago Cubs took two games out of the three-game set over Atlanta. With their 6-4 win yesterday, the Cubs moved to 7-3 over their past ten games, and in all seven of those wins, the team scored at least five runs. Yesterday, the Cubs got big hits from Ian Happ and Dansby Swanson, who drove in four of the team’s six runs themselves.
With the offense playing as well as they have been, the pitchers have been getting an abundance of run support each game they take the mound. Starting tonight for Chicago will be left-hander Drew Smyly. The veteran got hit around a bit in his most recent outing against the Reds, as he allowed five earned runs over 4.2 innings, but since the team went on to score 16 runs that game, he was able to walk away with the no decision.
Over his last ten starts, Smyly has still allowed five or more earned runs in six of those outings. That stat might be the first good news the Mets and their fans have had since the trade deadline. With their 2-0 loss yesterday, New York has lost six straight games and back-to-back series. All the Mets could muster up on offense were four hits, and the zero in the runs column made it five consecutive games without scoring more than three runs.
As they search for the win column for the first time since the trade deadline, New York will have their rookie All-Star Kodai Senga on the mound for his 21st start. Senga took the loss in his last outing after working 5.2 innings and allowing three earned runs, with no run support from his offense.
Even with the Mets being one of the coldest teams in all of baseball, they enter tonight listed as (-120) favorites on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play. This is one of those games where you hesitate after seeing the line because we just witnessed the Cubs beat arguably the best team in baseball while the Mets were recently swept by the Royals. That said, having Senga on the mound and facing Drew Smyly is best case scenario for a struggling team.
Entering tonight, Smyly is in the 37th percentile in expected batting average and 45th percentile in expected slugging percentage. Still, it’s his numbers as of late and on the road this season that make him an ideal pitcher to fade. When pitching on the road, Smyly has a 5.04 FIP and 5.14 xFIP with a .253 batting average against. The lefty is also fresh off a July in which he had a 6.65 ERA, and in his first start in August, he allowed three home runs.
On the other side, Kodai Senga has been dominant at home this season with a 3.55 FIP and .171 batting average against. Senga also pitched to a 2.21 FIP in July and has seemingly gotten his command in a better spot than the last time he faced the Cubs.
New York Mets (-120)