New York Mets at San Diego Padres
Moneyline: NYM +130/SD -140
First pitch: 3:40 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Wilmer Font (1-0, 5.79 ERA) vs. Matt Strahm (1-2, 3.03 ERA)
Just two days after he was acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later, Font will be thrusted into a big spot right away in his Mets debut this afternoon as the Amazins play the series finale of their three-game set with San Diego.
The interesting thing about this is that Font isn't your typical starter. In fact, of his 37 big-league appearances, only five were starting assignments, and even some of those weren't your garden variety, with Font being deployed as the "opener" in Tampa Bay's bullpen game strategy.
Still, the potential is there for Font to come through with a useful outing in his first game in blue and orange. Although he sports some undesirable numbers in the early going, that came exclusively as a reliever.
Some guys just excel in different roles and Font actually fared well in his starts last year, even if a couple were only designed for him to go two or three innings. In all, the 28-year-old put up a shiny 1.71 ERA and 0.95 WHIP across 21 innings. He can also rack up strikeouts, logging 11.57 K/9 thus far in 2019.
Font will be going up against left-hander Matt Strahm, who has been solid in his first full year as a starter in the majors. Since a rocky season debut on April 1, the former Royals farmhand has yet to allow more than two runs in any outing while pitching the Padres into the sixth inning or deeper each time out.
While Strahm has a high ceiling and can be real stingy, this is still a matchup the Mets offense can win based on their success against southpaws. They're hitting .271 against left-handed pitching, which is the fourth-highest mark in all of baseball, and the club's .792 OPS in that department ranks them ninth.
In particular, Jeff McNeil has feasted off left-handed pitching, picking up nine hits in 23 at-bats -- good for a sizzling .391 average. Pete Alonso has also performed well with a lefty on the hill, going 10-for-30 (.300) with four homers and 11 RBI.
How I Would Bet This Game
Strahm and the Padres feature reasonably-priced -140 odds considering they're facing a pitcher making his first start of the year after previously working as a reliever. But as analyzed, Font could end up being pretty good today, especially in such a pitcher-friendly park. As a result, I'd advise going with the under while the total sits at an even 8. The lineups could be downgraded, too, being an afternoon game following a night affair.