Despite having their starting pitcher ejected from the game for questionable reasons by the umpire, the New York Mets came away with a nice series win over the LA Dodgers yesterday. The Mets will now make the short trip to the Bay Area to take on the Giants, and we’ll preview the game before going over which team I’ll be backing.
After a five-game losing streak, the San Francisco Giants finally found themselves back in the win column yesterday to avoid getting swept by the Marlins. Out of the six series the Giants have played so far this season, they have only won one of them, and while getting off to a slow start in baseball is not the end of the world since it is a long season, the pressure of competing in a division with the Dodgers and Padres could start to mount.
As a pitching staff, the Giants are 14th in the league in ERA and WHIP, but they are also dead last in strikeouts per game. Tonight the Giants will hand the ball to lefty Sean Manaea to make his fourth start of the year. In 11.3 innings, Manaea has picked up three no-decisions and has pitched to a 4.76 ERA with 13 strikeouts and four walks.
Manaea will be facing a surging Mets team tonight that has won four straight series, including two over the Giants' NL West division mates, the Dodgers and Padres. The Mets as a team are still hitting .227, but they are averaging 4.63 runs per game. New York got significant contributions from Brandon Nimmo yesterday as he went five for five at the plate while hitting his first home run of the year.
On the bump, tonight for New York will be rookie Kodai Senga, who has gotten off to a phenomenal start in his first season in the MLB. Senga has thrown 16 innings in three starts and has a 3.38 ERA with 21 strikeouts and ten walks. The right-hander's unique pitching arsenal, including his famous “ghost fork,” has given a lot of hitters fits this season as it is a tough pitch to face for the first time.
The Mets are currently priced at (-130) on the moneyline tonight, and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Giants have lost the last four opening games of series they’ve played entering tonight, while the Mets are 4-1 in their last five games following a win. New York also has an advantage in terms of starting pitching.
New York has 68 fewer at-bats against left-handed pitching this season, yet they have hit the same amount of home runs off lefties than they have off righties. Tonight they will face a pitcher in Sean Manaea, that is in the 6th percentile in barrel percentage, 28th percentile in hard hit percentage, and 5th percentile in expected slugging percentage.
Kodai Senga will face a Giants team that leads the MLB in strikeouts, which bodes well for him and Mets backers since he is in the 82nd percentile in strikeout percentage and 73rd percentile in whiff percentage. With San Francisco already struggling with punchouts facing a pitch like the “ghost fork,” which has a .050 batting average with 16 strikeouts and a 61.5% whiff percentage, it could lead to a rough night at the plate for them.
New York Mets (-130)