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New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies prediction and pick for Friday night's game from MLB handicapper Matt Zylbert. Which side of the total is Matt on?

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies Prediction and Pick

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Over/Under: 7.5

First Pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Zack Wheeler (13-9, 2.86 ERA) vs. Taijuan Walker (7-9, 4.29 ERA)

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies Prediction

Mets vs. Phillies Odds

Knowing a pitcher couldn’t be more motivated entering a start is an extra edge that should always be looming large.

In the case of Wheeler — nearing the end of a legitimate National Cy Young quest — this couldn’t be more so. Not only is the nine-year veteran (man, it feels weird calling him that) gunning for pitching’s biggest individual prize, he’s also assisting in keeping his club in the postseason picture.

On top of all that, this will be an assignment in Wheeler’s old digs of Citi Field, where he pitched for several years before a somewhat controversial departure through free agency. That certainly appeared to have lit a fire (at least ex-GM Brodie Van Wagonen did with his comments) in Wheeler, and in response, he’s crafting his best work ever.

That mainly includes all matchups opposite his former team. He’s faced them seven times already since becoming a Phillie before the 2020 season, and in those meetings, Wheeler etched a 2.72 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 44-6 K/BB ratio.

Most notably, he pitched the Phils into the seventh inning or later in each one while yielding just one ball total out of the yard.

Six of the seven outings were ‘put in the books’ as a quality start, so do you really think Wheeler is about to dish out an oddity in arguably his most important start of the year? Also, consider that Wheeler got past a recent rough stretch in which he allowed at least four earned runs in four consecutive assignments, something he never even did with the Mets and is clearly trending true again.

Of course, when dealing with totals lower than 8, you have to make sure the other starter can also be counted on, and that seems to be the case surrounding Walker.

Unlike his counterpart this evening, the 29-year-old has been going in the wrong direction lately again after prevailing out of a curious funk in the back half of July.

Walker’s last two turns in the rotation didn’t turn out the way he would have wanted, but the encouraging item was he collectively notched 14 strikeouts, his most in back-to-back starts since well before the All-Star break. Walker will also be in a preferred setting based on splits.

First off, Walker has been much better at home than away, with an ERA that’s more than a run-and-a-half lower in front of Mets faithful (3.55) than on the road (5.18). Additionally, he’s been real stingy in his dates against Philly for his first go-around in the National League East. In four games, Phillies hitters have managed only a meager .218/.271/.410 slash line.

If Walker can only last effectively for five or so innings, we’ll still take that, given the pretty good bullpen waiting behind him.

Personal feelings and fine pitching will be at a high tonight. That whole script points to a low-scoring series opener in Queens.

New York Mets vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick


Indians-Yankees Over 9Dodgers-Reds Under 8.5

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “80-68-9,” +3.96 units

Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Pirates Under 8.5 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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