As the New York Mets open a three-game series Monday night at Citi Field against the Philadelphia Phillies, it’s clear that what happens “inside” the National League East amongst contenders is going to loom very large in the playoff chase.
We can throw out the Miami Marlins. Everyone expected them to be terrible. They were terrible out of the gate. That leaves handicappers and bettors with four teams to focus on…
- Atlanta: last year’s NL East champion with a 90-72 record
- Philadelphia: this year’s favorite after acquiring Bryce Harper
- New York: young talent with explosive potential
- Washington: capable of regaining divisional dominance
Major League schedules are division-heavy, making every victory important because it also inflicts a loss on a close competitor. Let’s see who’s been inflicting the most losses on each other amongst the four teams who matter. The following are won-lost records only in games Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, and Washington have played against each other…
Four-Way-Free-for-All: Philadelphia 7-4, Washington 6-5, New York 6-7, Atlanta 2-5.
That might look like bad news for Mets backers at first glance. But it should be noted that only three of those 13 games were at Citi Field. Going 6-7 against a 3-10 schedule split is a good sign, not a bad one.
Should Phillies backers be confident about that 7-4 start? Maybe not! Nine of those 11 games were at home.
That’s why this current Phillies/Mets series is so important for getting a handicapping read. If the Phillies take at least two of three, it’s easier to see them as the superior side. But if the Mets impress, they may be sitting atop the division when the home/road split finally equalizes. Keeping your head above water when 16 of your first 21 overall games are on the road means you’ll probably be swimming much faster in a friendlier current.
VSiN will keep an eye on NL East action until firmer conclusions can be drawn for fans and bettors. Here’s a quick recap of what happened last week when these teams met in The City of Brotherly Love…
April 15: Mets ( 105) 7, Phillies 6 (in 11 innings)
A lot of runs despite offenses combining to hit just 5 of 24 with runners in scoring position. Could have been even more explosive.
April 16: Phillies (-115) 14, Mets 3
This one was over before many fans found their seats (and “Over” the game total of 9). The Phils scored 10 runs in the bottom of the first inning, with six earned runs coming off Steven Matz before he was removed without recording an out.
April 17: Phillies (-110) 3, Mets 2
Jake Arrieta hurled a six-hit eight-inning gem in an early get-away start. Though, he was only able to strike out three Mets in 105 pitches.
Notice how betting markets perceived these teams as very evenly matched. Playing at home, the Phillies were just -125, -115, and -110. Oddsmakers and sharps are already giving the Mets a lot of respect. Let’s see if that continues this week.