New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies
Moneyline: NYM +110/PHI -120
First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Noah Syndergaard (1-1, 4.74 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (1-0, 6.46 ERA)
The names may look familiar but the stats certainly don't as these two frontline starters enter tonight's Mets-Phillies series opener with a combined ERA of over 10.
Granted, it is just April 15, with both stud right-handers only three starts deep into the campaign, but from a betting perspective, it makes you wonder if the struggles will continue.
For Syndergaard, that seems highly unlikely. Even with his unspectacular stat line to begin the year, he's still looked strong, pitching the Mets into the seventh inning or deeper in each of his starts. His trademark high-90's velocity has been there along with his stellar command of the zone, and thus far, that's produced an impressive 20-2 K/BB ratio in his 19 innings of work.
So, Thor is probably just fine, and while a date with the surging Phillies won't be easy, it's still a task Syndergaard can handle. After all, he's 5-3 with a 3.23 ERA in 10 career starts opposite Philadelphia.
While this year's Phillies lineup is much different, newcomers Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen have collectively hit .225 (9-for-40) against the 6-foot-6 behemoth.
Nola, meanwhile, has provided rockier work in the early going. The former No. 7 overall draft pick will try to capitalize on a matchup that has treated him well in the past, especially last season. In 2018, he went 4-0 in six starts against the Mets to go with a pretty 2.15 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
But there are also indicators that could point to an extended rough patch for Nola. According to Fangraphs, his first-strike percentage (47.7 percent) is glaringly down from any other point in his five-year career, and he's also garnering considerably less swings-and-misses from opposing hitters.
Thus, it doesn't seem like Nola is in his usual rhythm. Given how the Mets have been raking since the onset of the campaign, their lineup can make you pay if you're not at the top of your game. At the very least, this will certainly be a tougher Mets batting order than any of the ones Nola faced last year. Entering Monday's action, they've scored the second-most runs (!) in the National League.
How I Would Bet This Game
Normally, I'd lean toward taking the under first with a Syndergaard-Nola pitching matchup, but in this spot, it's very possible that one of the starters has a rough day at the office. I think that's likelier to be an issue for Nola, so I'd advise to just bet Thor and the Mets (+110) with the plus odds to take game one of this rivalry series. Good luck.