MLB Regular Season

Matchup: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers

Date/Time: July 3, 10:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Noah Syndergaard (3-4, 3.59) vs. Clayton Kershaw (5-6, 3.20)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Los Angeles -235

Total: 5.5

For those that enjoy a good pitcher’s duel, Friday night’s game between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers should be rather sensual. Noah Syndergaard and Clayton Kershaw square off in one of the lowest MLB regular season totals in recent memory. The man nicknamed “Thor” will have to bring his best to compete with the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner in late night baseball from Dodger Stadium.

The Mets fell to .500 following the sweep by the Chicago Cubs on Thursday. The Mets have lost 10 of their last 14 games and have scored 23 runs in that span. Since a 15-5 start to open the season, the Mets are just 25-35 and trail in the NL East race by 4.5 games behind the surging Washington Nationals. The Dodgers, meanwhile, finished up a 10-game road trip by winning six of the final eight to extend their NL West lead to three games.

After scoring one run on Thursday against the Cubs, the Mets extended their offensive slump by yet another day. In New York’s four wins over their last 14 games, the Mets scored two runs in three of those games. They scored seven in the other game. In their most recent series against the Cubs, the Mets scored a total of one run in 29 innings. With no walks, five hits, and three doubles on Thursday, the Mets cemented their status as the second-worst offense in the NL by wOBA and are threatening the Chicago White Sox for the second-worst offense overall.

Noah Syndergaard and his rotation mates are getting accustomed to pitching without a whole lot of run support. Syndergaard has tremendous raw stuff, as evidenced by his outstanding 5.3 K/BB ratio over his first nine starts. Opposing batters are hitting .258 with a .329 BABIP because he still needs to learn how to properly attack Major League hitters in important situations. Syndergaard has held opposing batters to a .232/.267/.328 slash line with the bases empty, but he has struggled from the stretch with a .298/.352/.463 slash against.

The Dodgers should be able to get some traffic on the basepaths in this one. Los Angeles has the second-best offense in the league by wOBA, trailing only the Toronto Blue Jays, who are having a historic season against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers have excelled against right-handed pitching. Their .341 wOBA is the best in baseball by a comfortable margin over the ballpark-inflated Colorado Rockies. Their 119 wRC+ is six points better than the next closest team, the San Francisco Giants. However, a large part of the Dodgers’ success comes from drawing walks and hitting for power. Syndergaard does not issue many walks and has only allowed four home runs in his nine starts.

Clayton Kershaw is the poster child for the “Kill the Win” campaign. Wins are not a good measure of pitching success, as evidenced by the southpaw’s 2015 season. Kershaw has had some command troubles this year, in a relative sense to his past performances, but he still has a strong 3.20 ERA, 2.59 FIP, and 2.09 xFIP. Kershaw’s home run per fly ball rate is over 10 percent higher than his career average. He is posting the best strikeout rate of his career, punching out 32.9 percent of opposing hitters. The Dodgers also have one of the stronger bullpen in baseball if this is a tie game late.

Free MLB Prediction: Under 5.5

There’s no value on either side with this line, but it is a fascinating pitching matchup that has the potential to stay below the total of 5.5. The Mets cannot hit right now and the opportunity to get in the batter’s box against Clayton Kershaw doesn’t seem like a good time for that to turn around. A total this low isn’t as rare as Halley’s Comet, but it’s pretty close, and it’s there for a reason.