Mets at Phillies Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/8/2013
Yeah, I'd say it's time to start worrying about Roy Halladay if you are a Philadelphia Phillies backer. All those innings finally caught up to the two-time Cy Young winner last year, as “Doc” finished 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts, easily his worst season in years.
The soon-to-be-36-year-old has ample financial motivation to have a bounce-back 2013 season (not to mention help his future Hall of Fame case). Halladay is entering what looks to be the final year of his contract. He has $20 million option for 2014 that would vest if he pitches 258 2/3 innings in 2013. That isn't going to happen considering he has topped that number just once in his career, and no pitcher threw that many innings last year.
The Phillies are taking a wait-and-see approach on an extension, and that's looking wise. Halladay was rocked this spring, and his first outing of the regular season wasn't good, either. Thus, Monday's home start against the Mets could really determine whether the Phillies are pennant contenders this year. If Halladay can find his pre-2012 form, then definitely Philadelphia will be. If not, the Phils are looking at missing the postseason for the second year in a row.
Mets at Phillies Betting Story Lines
Halladay had one of the most unusual pitching lines ever in last Wednesday's 9-2 loss at Atlanta. The good news is that he struck out nine Braves in just 3 1/3 innings, but that's all he lasted. He became the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out that many batters while lasting that few innings; he also threw 40 pitches in an inning for the first time in six seasons. Halladay allowed five earned runs, six hits and walked three in his 95-pitch outing and rarely touched 90 mph on his fastball. As ESPN points outs, 10 Braves hitters didn't strike out against Halladay. Those 10 went 6-for-7 with two homers and nine reaching base. His stuff just isn't the same.
Halladay started once against the Mets last year, getting a no-decision in allowing two runs and striking out seven in seven innings. He was 6-4 with a 4.56 ERA overall at home last season. The only current Mets hitter who has had much success against Halladay is Marlon Byrd, who is batting .313 in 16 at-bats. No Met has homered off Halladay.
Meanwhile, the Mets pretty much are going to stink this year as the team crawls out from under the Bernie Madoff mess that drained the pockets of team ownership. One big reason for optimism going forward, however, is Matt Harvey, who starts Monday's game. The 24-year-old was very good as a rookie in 2012, with a 2.73 ERA in 10 late-season starts, averaging more than a strikeout an inning. Harvey, the No. 7 overall pick in 2010, was even better in his 2013 debut, holding the Padres to one hit over seven innings while striking out 10 in an 8-4 win. His fastball reached 98. Yes, the Padres lineup is awful, especially without Chase Headley, but it's still a big-league team (unlike the Astros). Harvey is just the third pitcher in Mets history to strike out 10 or more batters three times in his first 11 appearances. The other two were pretty good: Dwight Gooden and Nolan Ryan.
Harvey faced the Phillies twice last season. going 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 13.1 innings. Philadelphia batters managed just seven hits overall. Jimmy Rollins was the only Phillie to go yard off Harvey. He was 3-3 with a 3.31 ERA on the road last year, compared to a 1.88 ERA at Citi Field.
The Mets have probably the worst outfield in the majors, and Manager Terry Collins has been playing musical chairs out there thus far. Mike Baxter made his first start of the season on Saturday and hit leadoff. He rewarded Collins with two walks, two runs scored and a steal. You may remember Baxter as the guy who made a tremendous catch to preserve Johan Santana's no-hitter last year, displacing his collarbone while crashing into the outfield fence. Baxter started again Sunday in right but hit fifth. Collins said Baxter likely will go back to leadoff against Halladay. Byrd didn't start Sunday, but I'm sure he will Monday with his track record against Halladay.
Mets at Phillies MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Phillies opened at -134 and the Mets +124 with the total at 8. All trends entering Sunday: New York is 4-1 “over/under” and has been favored in every game. Philadelphia is 3-2 O/U and 1-2 as a favorite.
The Mets are 3-7 in Harvey's last 10 starts. They are 8-3 in their past 11 against righty starters. The Phils are 6-1 in their past seven Monday games. They have won 13 of their past 19 against right-handed starters. Philadelphia is 22-6 in Halladay's past 28 starts during Game 1 of a series. The under is 5-1 in Harvey's past six starts. The over is 4-1 in Halladay's past five series openers. The Phillies are 7-1 in Halladay's past eight vs. the Mets. The over is 4-1 in Halladay's past five against the Mets. New York has won five of its past six in Philadelphia.
Mets at Phillies Picks and Betting Predictions
The Mets won the season series a year ago, 10-8, but the final meeting was memorable in a bad way for New York. Philadelphia won 16-1 at Citi Field on Sept. 20. It was the first time in Mets history they allowed at least eight runs in the first inning of a home game. The Phillies also became the first team in MLB history with at least eight runs in the first inning and at least seven in the ninth.
It will be interesting to see how books handle the Phillies' number in Halladay's starts going forward if he struggles again in this one. You wouldn't get Halladay at this small of a number at home against a pretty bad team in previous years, so I'd jump on it now. The guy is a pro, and I expect a strong bounce-back start. If the Mets had any hitters at all I might roll the dice, but I can't see them scoring more than 2-3 runs -- especially in their first road game. So take the Phillies and the under.
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