Lingering uncertainty hangs over the Major League Baseball as we get ready for the Friday card. Fortunately, there is no uncertainty for the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Mets. The Mets are going to buy, if anything, before the Friday 4 p.m. Trade Deadline. The Reds seem to have already done their buying, with a complete rebuild of the bullpen.
We’ve seen a big line move in this one at Citi Field, as the Mets are up to a -135 favorite at Bovada Sportsbook with a total of 8 for Friday night’s matchup between Sonny Gray and Carlos Carrasco.
The Reds have more problems than just the bullpen, but the bullpen has been the biggest one. Cincinnati’s relief unit has been down towards the bottom of the league in ERA most of the season. This is a team on the fringes of the playoff hunt, facing a big deficit in the NL Central, but the additions of Justin Wilson, Luis Cessa, and Mychal Givens should help.
Unfortunately, the injury to Nick Castellanos came at a bad time for the Reds, but the offense really hasn’t been the problem. Cincinnati ranks fourth in wOBA at .327. It is definitely important to point out, however, that Cincinnati’s offensive performance is largely one-sided. The Reds rank 14th in wOBA on the road at .313.
It doesn’t take a degree in advanced mathematics to see that the season number is .327, even though the road number is .313, and make a pretty big determination about how kind Great American Ball Park has been to the Redlegs. To make matters worse, playing at Citi Field is tough, as that ballpark has only yielded 6.22 runs per game. It is important to note that there have been 12 seven-inning games there as a result of doubleheaders.
While the Reds offense could struggle, maybe the friendlier park factor will be good for Sonny Gray. Gray owns a 4.50 ERA with a 4.03 FIP in his 70 innings of work. The right-hander has a 3.79 xERA, so there are some positive regression signs in the profile after his season got off to a late start. Gray does have a .339 BABIP against and a 19.6% HR/FB%, which would suggest command problems, but he has gotten unlucky with a Hard Hit% of just 31.4%.
New York Mets
Consider Carlos Carrasco a Trade Deadline acquisition for the Mets. Carrasco, who was acquired in the preseason Francisco Lindor trade, has not pitched an MLB inning yet for the Mets. He was hurt in Spring Training and then had issues during the rehab process as well.
The 34-year-old right-hander owns a 3.77 ERA and a 3.42 FIP for his solid career over 1,242.1 innings of work. He’s struck out over a batter per inning throughout his career and has strong peripherals otherwise. In three rehab starts, Carrasco worked 6.2 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. He struck out six over three innings in his last appearance and the Mets deemed him ready to go.
This injury-riddled season for the Mets has made it kind of difficult to really dig into their numbers. They rank 19th in wOBA at .308, which isn’t very good, but a stingy home park has been part of the problem. They are, however, one of the league’s best defensive teams, though the absence of Lindor at shortstop does lower their defensive projection a bit.
The Mets are probably only going to get three or so innings from Carrasco, which is a concern today. Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and Trevor May have all worked a lot recently. Aaron Loup has pitched four of the last five days and so has Jeurys Familia. There aren’t a lot of fresh pen arms available to soak up innings today.
Reds vs. Mets Free Pick
This line really ran out in a hurry with Carlos Carrasco on the mound and the road Reds in a bad offensive environment, but this number has gotten too high. The poor hitting conditions should benefit Sonny Gray and Cincinnati’s revamped bullpen may not be that far from New York’s bullpen in light of all the recent usage coming off a five-game series against the Braves.
The Reds are the pick.