Sunday Night Baseball: Padres at Mets

The New York Mets are clinging to first place in the NL East, but they're just one-half game ahead of Atlanta going into Sunday's action.

New York Mets vs. San Diego Padres Betting Preview

Line: New York -125

Total: 8

Where: Citi Field

When: Sunday, 7/24, at 7:08 p.m. ET

TV: ESPN

New York will be trying to avoid a multitude of negative things when it hosts San Diego in primetime on Sunday night.

The Mets are looking to snap a three-game losing streak, avoid getting swept in this three-game series and remain in first place in the National League East standings. They have seen their divisional lead trimmed to just a half-game over Atlanta heading into Sunday’s slate.

New York opened as a -120 favorite, but some early line movement has pushed that number slightly up to -125 at most sportsbooks. The total opened at 7.5 and has been bet up to 8, but the ‘under’ is juiced to -115.

San Diego’s pitching has been dominant in the first two games of the series, holding New York to just one run in each of those contests. Star third baseman Manny Machado’s two-run home run in the sixth inning on Saturday night was enough to give the Padres a win.

“They figured out a way to push two across; usually, that doesn’t stand up,” Mets first-year manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ve hit a spot here where runs are hard to come by. And I have a lot of confidence that will change.”

Showalter is trying to avoid being swept in a three-game series for the first time this season, and he is also trying to keep his team in first place. The Mets have been sitting atop the NL East standings for 103 consecutive days, but the reigning World Series champions are right on their heels.

New York’s offense ranks in the bottom six in MLB in batting average, OPS and runs per game since June 7. However, the Mets are still ninth in the majors overall in average this season, hitting at a .251 clip.

Star slugger Pete Alonso has a team-high 95 hits, including 24 home runs. Starling Marte, Francisco Lindor and Brandon Nimmo have each eclipsed 88 hits. They will be facing San Diego starter Joe Musgrove, who enters this game with an 8-2 record and a 2.42 ERA this season.

Musgrove is coming off his worst start of the season, allowing five runs on nine hits in five innings against Colorado. He has struggled against New York during his career, going 1-4 with a 5.63 ERA in five appearances. Musgrove has been outstanding this year though, ranked eighth in the majors in ERA. 

San Diego has now won four of its last five games dating back to last weekend prior to the All-Star break, as it closed the first half with a series win over Arizona. The Padres have a long way to go if they want to compete with Los Angeles in the NL West—the Dodgers are 10.5 games ahead of them for first place in the standings.

An NL Wild Card spot will be San Diego’s most attainable way to claim a spot in the playoffs, as it is has three games of wiggle room in the current standings. The Padres have not been as good as the Mets offensively this season, ranked No. 18 in the majors in batting average (.240). Machado leads the squad with 96 hits and 53 RBIs, hitting 16 home runs.

Second baseman Jake Cronenworth and first baseman Eric Hosmer each have 86 base knocks. Designated hitter Luke Voit and center fielder Trent Grisham have provided some additional power, combining for 22 home runs.

They will be going up against New York starter Carlos Carrasco, who is 10-4 despite his mediocre 4.27 ERA. He is coming off six shutout innings against the Cubs, allowing five hits while striking out six batters. Carrasco faced San Diego for the first time in his career on June 6, allowing two runs across seven innings in an 11-5 win.

San Diego has won five out of the last six meetings between these teams. They have also gone ‘under’ in four of their last five games against each other—the Padres have cashed the ‘under’ in eight of their last 11 road games.

The pick: New York -125

While New York’s offensive struggles are the key storyline heading into this game, San Diego has been having its issues as well. The Padres have not scored more than five runs in six straight games, relying on their pitching to secure wins. New York simply has too much firepower in its lineup to continue struggling at the plate, especially with the team being motivated by its recent slump. Musgrove is coming off his worst start of the season, while Carrasco is coming off one of his best outings. I expect the Mets to show up with a strong performance in front of their home crowd in primetime in a game that suddenly feels very important.

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