The Mets are currently the best home team in baseball and look to complete a three-game sweep.
Florida Marlins at New York Mets
Florida has dropped the first two games of its current road series against the New York Mets, after having a previous six-game winning streak against them. The Marlins now find themselves with a 28-29 record heading into Sunday’s contest (-350). “Bottom line is we had some opportunities to get back in the game and we’re not swinging it right now,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We’ll come back tomorrow.” Even after losing to a left-handed pitcher on Saturday, Florida still possesses a dominating 13-7 record against southpaws this season (+570). The Marlins still remain two games over .500 against division foes with a 13-11 record (+50) and have a good chance of grabbing the series finale with a 6-2 mark on Sunday (+460).
Marlins SP Ricky Nolasco is making his 12th start of the 2010 season, bringing a 5-4 record and 4.57 ERA (-50). The young right-hander will be making his 16th career start and 18th appearance against the Mets, going 4-6 with a 5.62 ERA. He’s already faced New York two times this season, posting a 1-0 mark and 3.55 ERA. One of those starts was the season-opener at Citi Field, as he surrendered three runs on three hits in 6.2 innings of work. Nolasco brings in a solid 3-1 record and 3.50 ERA in five starts away from Sun Life Stadium (+320), notching quality starts in four of those five outings. Many insiders are noticing that his strikeout numbers are down this season, fanning just 52 batters in 69 innings, after compiling 195 in 185 frames in 2009. “I’m not worried about the strikeouts right now,” Nolasco said. “It’s a long season.”’’
New York has picked up its first series victory against Florida this season, after dropping the first two of the year. Since 2005, the Mets are 25-26 against the Marlins at home. So far during the 2010 season, the team has played its best baseball at Citi Field, bringing in a MLB-leading 21 home wins into Sunday’s game (+1,080). Bettors should take note that New York is scoring at a rate about two runs higher than visitors at the ball park (4.77-2.90) In comparison, life on the road has been a disaster, as their eight road wins is tied with Houston for the fewest in the National League. Overall, the starting staff has paced the Mets over the last 18 games, going 10-2 with a 2.33 ERA over that span.
Mets SP Hisanori Takahashi is ready to make his fourth start of the season, after appearing in 15 games out of the bullpen to start the season. The left-hander is 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA overall, including an impressive 4-1 mark and 2.00 ERA at Citi Field. He has tossed 27 innings at home this season, striking out 28 batters while walking just eight. New York hopes that Takahashi bounces back from his worst start of the season, when he allowed six earned runs and eights hits in just four innings of work in a 18-6 road loss to the San Diego Padres. He will be making his first daytime start of the season, but has produced a 1-0 record and 1.93 ERA in five relief appearances under the sun (9.1IP/2ER).
Some stats certainly jump off the page from a handicapping perspective in this matchup. The Marlins have made over bettors a ton of money when the total is 8 to 8.5 over the last three years (70-39 O/U), while the Mets are a capable 7-1 as a home underdog of +100 to +125 (+680). It may be worth it to parlay the two sides together, but don’t get carried away with the Marlins’ success against left-handed starters.