Washington Nationals (+101) at New York Mets (-111, 7.5 o/u)
Heading into the MLB All-Star Break, the New York Mets (46-38, 25-17 Home) have a prime opportunity in front of them to close the gap in the NL East. It should be an epic weekend of pitching matchups as the second and third-best rotations meet when the division-leading Washington Nationals (51-35, 24-20 Away) visit Citi Field for a four-game series, starting tonight (7:10 PM Eastern).
The Mets have had a nice start to the month of July, going 5-1 against the Cubs and Marlins. But New York still trails the Nats by four games for tops in the division, so Mets fans will be hoping the brooms come out this weekend.
To kick things off, New York sends the round righty Bartolo Colon (7-4, 2.87 ERA) to the mound. The tubby tosser has been strong, winning three of his last five starts. That number could’ve been bigger too, but he left a start against the Royals in the first inning after taking a ball off his thumb. All told, he’s thrown six quality starts in his last eight outings. Over the last month, he’s as reliable as they come.
The pitcher he’s going up against is a 21-year-old wild card. Lucas Giolito made his first (and only) career start against the Mets on June 28, and didn’t give up any runs in a rain-shortened four-innings. It’s unclear what Giolito is truly capable of in the big leagues, but you can bet New York’s batters jotted down a few notes on the kid.
While facing the Mets order hasn’t been a daunting task for most of the season, they’re swinging some hot bats now. New York has 44 runs over their last seven games, led by Yoenis Cespedes, who’s hitting .429 with three homers in the last week.
Washington swept New York in their last meeting and lead the season series 6-3. But with the undefeated Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow and Max Scherzer following up, tonight is a game the Mets can ill-afford to lose. Take New York to get it done.
Pick: Mets (-111).
(Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA (#WorldSeries Game 1: Bartolo Colon) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)