MLB Regular Season

Matchup: San Diego Padres at New York Mets

Date/Time: July 28, 7:10 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: James Shields (8-3, 3.77) vs. Noah Syndergaard (4-5, 2.97)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: New York Mets -135

Total: 6.5

There may not be a bigger dichotomy in Major League Baseball on Tuesday night than the San Diego Padres and New York Mets. The Padres are in selling mode, even though they are just five games under .500, because this season has not gone the way that they expected. The New York Mets are buying and have inquired about just about every upgrade out there. The Mets are only four games better in the standings than the Padres, but both teams hope to look a lot different by Friday.

Ownership is driving the bus with the impending San Diego fire sale, though GM AJ Preller is happy to be in the first row. Preller went on a major transaction spree prior to the 2015 season that includes the signing of James Shields and trades to bring in Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel, and Will Middlebrooks. Just a few months later, the Padres are looking to sell off some of those pieces, as well as starting pitchers Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, and Andrew Cashner.

The Mets are doing the smart thing as they try to capitalize on a year of the prime of their starting rotation. Tuesday’s starter, Noah Syndergaard, is a big part of the reason why the Mets have had success this season. The return of Matt Harvey from Tommy John surgery and the continued emergence of Jacob deGrom as one of the game’s best pitchers have put the Mets in a position to be MLB Trade Deadline buyers. They already added Juan Uribe, Kelly Johnson, and Tyler Clippard and they are interested in several others, including Ben Zobrist.

James Shields is on the market, but not many teams are interested in picking up the three years and $65M left of guaranteed money on his deal. Shields does have an opt-out clause after the 2016 season and he may use it if he feels unwelcomed in San Diego. On the other hand, Shields will be 35 at the end of next season and won’t get $21M per guaranteed anywhere else. There have been some concerning developments for him of late. Prior to the All-Star Break, his velocity was on the decline, along with his ability to throw strikes.

Shields has had a career year in terms of strikeouts and missing bats. On the other hand, he has had some of the worst command of his career. Shields has struck out 144 batters in 126.2 innings of work. But, he has also allowed 20 home runs, after allowing 23 in 227 innings last season. Shields also has a .314 BABIP against because of San Diego’s terrible defense. Considering that home runs don’t count towards BABIP, this is a really bad stat.

Noah Syndergaard has been excellent, save for a start here or there. He has a 2.97 ERA with a 2.81 FIP and a 3.14 xFIP in 13 starts. He’s already been worth almost two wins above replacement player in just 78.2 innings of work. He has shown a tremendous ability to miss bats and would have more wins if not for the inept New York Mets offense. Everything about Syndergaard’s stat line is encouraging and there are no great outliers that suggest regression.

MLB Prediction: New York Mets

Syndergaard sports a 1.74 ERA in the pitcher-friendly environment at Citi Field with a .200/.242/.257 slash against. He has 55 strikeouts to nine walks against righties. The right-handed heavy Padres are in for a rough day against Thor. The concern, as it always is, is whether or not the Mets will score enough to win, but they should get some help from the Padres defense in this one.