The New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates were both expected to contend for playoff spots this season. Instead, they are both well below .500. Injuries have decimated both clubs. For the Mets, they’re coming off a 3 game series against the San Diego padres, which ended at 1-2. The Pirates just ended a 4 game series against the Atlanta Braves, which ended tied 2-2. It’s a good pitching matchup in Saturday’s second game of the series between the two in Steel Town. The Bucs will be MLB betting favorites.
NY Mets at Pittsburgh MLB Betting Preview & Game Info
FINAL: #Mets 3 – San Diego 4.
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 26, 2017
When: Saturday, May 27, 7:15 PM ET
Where: PNC Park, Pittsburgh
Probable pitchers (away/home): Zack Wheeler/Gerrit Cole
Radio: New York / Pittsburgh
Opening MLB Lines: Pirates favored by TBA
Why Bet On NY Mets?
New York will have shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera back for this series as he was activated from the 10-day disabled list. Cabrera missed a little less than two weeks with a sprained thumb. Cabrera carries a .257/.339/.381 slash line with three homers, 14 RBIs and three steals this season. To make room for him, the Mets optioned C Kevin Plawecki to Triple-A Las Vegas. Plawecki spent a month backing up Rene Rivera but is no longer needed with Travis d'Arnaud (wrist) back in the fold.
The Mets haven’t had much go right this season, but Michael Conforto has been one thing that has. Following a strong initial breakthrough upon arrival with the Mets in the second half of the 2015 season – including a couple of home runs in the World Series against Kansas City — Conforto endured a lost 2016 campaign, hitting just .220 wrapped around a couple of humbling stints in the minors. This season, Conforto began without an everyday starting role but has forced himself into the lineup by batting .341/.437/.712 with 13 homers, 35 runs scored and 32 RBIs. He has been the Mets’ best player this year, and it hasn’t been close, both sides of the ball.
“He went home this winter,” Mets manager Terry Collins said of Conforto, “and he came back a big league player.”
It’s Zack Wheeler (3-2, 3.74) on the mound here. Wheeler allowed two earned runs, four hits and five walks with five strikeouts over his five innings in a win last Saturday against the Angels. Wheeler threw 61 of his 99 pitches for strikes, picking up his second win of the month after managing just one victory in five April outings. He has recorded at least four strikeouts in each of his eight outings this season, but he has failed to go longer than six innings in all but one of his starts.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson recently said that the club will “constantly re-evaluate” the workload limit for Wheeler. The Mets floated the idea of a 125-inning limit for Wheeler back in February after he missed essentially two full years with elbow issues, but they surely didn’t foresee at that point him becoming such an integral part of their rotation in 2017. Wheeler has had issues with his control, but he boasts a 2.67 ERA with 32 strikeouts over his last 33 2/3 innings. He’s currently on pace to throw 170 1/3 frames.
“What we try to do is establish a target, and then we constantly re-evaluate,” Alderson said. “And that’s what we’ll do in his case.”
Why Bet On Pittsburgh?
The Pirates have activated OF Gregory Polanco from the 10-day disabled list. He was placed on the disabled list May 15 after injuring his hamstring while running down a ball in right field at Chase Field. He was shut down for a few days before beginning his rehab. The Pirates opted not to send Polanco on a rehab assignment. Polanco is the first Pirates player to return on the 11th day after an injury.
Polanco is batting .252 with a .706 OPS in 34 games. He was 11 for 33 (.333) with four doubles, a home run and three walks in his last 10 games before going on the disabled list. The Pirates optioned outfielder Danny Ortiz to Class AAA Indianapolis to make room for Polanco.
Andrew McCutchen was benched Wednesday — and Thursday — in Atlanta after an 0-for- 5 performance Tuesday dropped his batting average to .200 for the season. McCutchen’s production was excellent as recently as 2015, and so it’s reasonable to think he can regain some semblance of that form with a few adjustments. McCutchen’s BABIP was at .355 in 2014 and has fallen off noticeably in every year since.
It’s ace Gerrit Cole (2-5, 3.36) for the Pirates. Cole gave up five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in 4.2 innings Monday against the Braves. He also hit one batter while striking out two. The outing was his worst of 2017 and seemed reminiscent of his struggles from a year ago. A 31-pitch first inning set the tone for the evening and long-time nemesis Brandon Phillips (.440 career batting average vs. Cole) belted a two-run homer to further compound matters.
Cole needed 100 pitches (67 for strikes) in the highly forgettable showing. Fortunately, his fastball velocity (95.8 mph) was on par with his recent starts. Cole had allowed 2 ER or fewer, while pitching at least six innings, in his previous seven starts, making Monday look more like an aberration than a trend. Cole has a career 4.15 ERA vs. the Mets.
NY Mets at Pittsburgh MLB Betting Pick: Under
I expect a total of around 8 here and recommend the under with two good young pitchers.