After rallying for an extra-inning win Wednesday night the New York Mets go for a sweep of their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals when the teams meet for a getaway-day matinee Thursday afternoon at Citi Field (12:10 pm Eastern).
New York took the opener of this series Tuesday 4-2 behind another quality start from Dillon Gee. The Mets then won game two Wednesday, coming back from an early 4-0 deficit to force extra innings, and winning 6-5 on an Angel Pagan homer in the bottom of the tenth.
So New York is 3-3 since the All-Star break, while St. Louis is 1-5.
These two teams are only separated by one game in the win-loss columns. But while the 50-47 Cardinals are only two games back of division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central, the 49-48 Mets are 12 games behind first-place Philadelphia in the NL East.
In the NL Wild-Card race St. Louis is 6.5 games back of first-place leading Atlanta, with the Mets 7.5 games out.
Jake Westbrook (5-4, 5.26) starts for the Cardinals Thursday against Jon Niese (9-7, 3.73) for the Mets. As of Thursday morning BetJamaica.com is lining New York as a -115 favorite for Thursday afternoon's game, with an over/under of eight. The Mets are also moneylined at +175, with St. Louis giving -210 getting the run and a half.
Westbrook is only five-for-19 in quality starts this season. In his last outing he held Cincinnati to two earned runs on five hits in five innings, but that followed a start in which he gave up seven ER on eight hits in 4 1/3 IP, also vs. the Reds. The Cardinals are 10-9 in Westbrook's starts this season, with the over/unders going 12-6.
In his one career start vs. the Mets, which came last year, Westbrook got clipped for five earned runs on 11 hits in seven innings of work.
Niese is 11-for-19 in quality starts this year. In his three starts this month he's allowed seven ER on 20 hits in 20 IP. New York is 11-8 in Niese's starts this season, with the O/Us going 13-5.
In his most recent start vs. St. Louis, which came last year, Niese held the Cards to one ER on seven hits in six IP.
St. Louis is 25-26 on the road this season, while New York is 22-25 at home.
The over/unders are 53-41 in Cardinals games this season, 52-41 in Mets games, and 26-19 in games played at Citi Field.
With a day game following a night game, and with temps expected in the high 90s Thursday in New York, bettors might want to check out the lineup cards before playing this game.
As for Thursday's game all signs point toward an over; Both teams have skewed toward the overs on the season, as have both starting pitchers. Therefore, we'll take the under.