The New York Mets and the Houston Astros will conclude a two-game set on Wednesday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker combined for 5 RBIs in Houston’s 8-2 win against New York last night. Jose Urquidy turned in a stellar performance, throwing a career-high 104 pitches across six innings while allowing one run on four hits.
Carlos Carrasco (8-2, 3.96 ERA) will take the mound for the Mets this afternoon and face the Astros for the first time in three years. Carrasco has been a strikeout artist in June, fanning 29 batters over 23 innings.
Houston will turn to Luis Garcia (4-5, 3.41 ERA), who will look to build off of a positive outing in Arlington against the Texas Rangers, in which he gave up two runs on five hits.
The ‘Stros bats have been picking up steam at home recently, launching 15 home runs and sporting a .270 average in their last 10 home games. Absent all-world arms in Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, as well as right-hander Tylor Megill, the Mets still have a 5.5-game lead in the National League East.
Let’s take a look at the angles for the closing game of this set between two postseason contenders.
New York’s Bats Should Provide Enough Run Support
Star slugger Pete Alonso leads the Mets’ high-powered offensive attack. The All-Star candidate should follow up his 3-3 performance yesterday with more effective production today.
Garcia likes to give up home runs. Although opposing batters are hitting .197 against the right-hander, he has given up five round-trips in June and 12 on the year. Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and Eduardo Escobar will welcome the sight of Garcia on the mound as the Mets get to righties with ease, hitting .267 against them.
Although the Mets will be without Jeff McNeil on Wednesday, they have enough offensive firepower to get to Garcia, who could be in line for some regression.
The Mets Win When Carrasco Pitches
Carrasco fares extremely well against winning teams, earning victories against the Padres, Phillies, Braves, and Giants. Although wins against Atlanta and San Francisco were earned early on in the season, the Venezuela native has a proven track record against potent offenses. He has also been solid on the road (3-1, 3.38 ERA), albeit with one lousy outing at the hands of the Cardinals.
The right-hander has been keeping the decimated New York rotation afloat for the better half of the year. He has a gaudy 5.4% walk rate and is in the 98th percentile of chase rates.
New York is 5-1 in Carrasco’s last six starts, so that should give them some confidence against an Astros team that has been up-and-down in June and vulnerable at home.
The Mets will be motivated to bounce back after a big loss. They are 23-5 in 28 games following a defeat.
I like the Mets as a short road underdog in the closing game of a short series behind the reliable Carrasco. Although the Mets bullpen is shaky and can get easily roughed up, the Mets can get hits and drive in runs throughout their entire order.
Take New York (+120 ML) to handle business and give Houston some problems today.