Cardinals vs. Mets Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Megill in this Pitching Mismatch (Wednesday, September 15)

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Mets starting pitcher Tyler Megill.

Cardinals vs. Mets Odds

Cardinals Odds +145
Mets Odds -165
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Few things are as certain in baseball as the St. Louis Cardinals being in the playoff hunt in September. The Cardinals have won four consecutive games, the last two against the Mets in New York. They now sit 0.5 games ahead of the Padres and the Reds for the final wild card spot in the National League.

One-run losses have doomed the Mets in recent weeks as they try to mount a late playoff charge. New York has won two of its last 15 games decided by one run and now sits 5.5 games out of the NL East and 3.5 games out of the wild card.

If there’s been a silver lining despite the injuries for New York, it’s been the emergence of Tylor Megill in the starting rotation. He pitches on Wednesday and has been undervalued all season in the market. Facing lefty Jon Lester who is among the league’s worst starters, the Mets have value in the first five innings.

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Can the Cardinals Find Consistency on the Mound?

The Cardinals’ elite defense has helped them cover up some very mediocre pitching contact numbers.

The rotation isn’t very good with high end talent or depth, hence the reason for starting Lester and his 4.75 ERA and 5.25 xERA every five days. The bullpen has problems throwing strikes through Genesis Cabrera and Alex Reyes. St. Louis overcame starting John Gant for most of the first half of the season too.

Lester is only above average in baseball savant’s hard-hit rate, as he ranks well below average in strikeout rate, walk rate, xwOBA and xSLG allowed. He’s walking more batters and striking out fewer batters than ever.

While St. Louis got an excellent start from Adam Wainwright on Monday, they used most of their bullpen behind Jake Woodford on Tuesday. The Mets got to Woodford early, and they should have similar success Wednesday against Lester.

St. Louis ranks just 21st in wRC+ against right-handed pitching, much worse than their fifth ranking against lefties. They strike out more, walk less and hit for much less power when facing righties. This makes sense when you consider that almost all of their top hitters including Nolan Arenado, Tyler O’Neill and Paul Goldschmidt hit right-handed.

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Megill Emerging for the Mets

With all of New York’s injuries, Megill has turned from a mid-level prospect into a regular starter. He’s had a few hiccups but has mostly shined. His actual 4.06 ERA is decent, but his xERA of 3.46 is even better.

Megill is well above average in quality of contact allowed and walk rate, both recipes for avoiding big innings against him. His xERA and xwOBA are both in the 76th percentile, and although Megill has struggled against lefties this season, the Cardinals don’t have many dangerous lefties in the lineup.

He’s allowing a .188/.226/.292 slash line when facing right-handed bats this year and should be able to keep the Cardinals offense in check in the pitchers’ park of Citi Field on Wednesday night.

New York ranks near the bottom of the league in clutch hitting in the last month, a product of all of their close losses. That’s bound to regress at some point, and the Mets should eventually getting hits in clutch situations. Not putting the ball in play has been cited as a major reason for the struggles, but New York is above average in K rate since August began.

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Cardinals-Mets Pick

Both bullpens saw a ton of use in Tuesday’s 11-inning thriller, and it’s unclear if either can be trusted to get outs at the moment. But while the market has moved toward the Mets since opening overnight, it hasn’t moved very far.

The Cardinals have been a bit fortunate to keep this winning streak alive, but it ends on Wednesday, when they are at a significant pitching disadvantage. Lester is one of the worst regular starters in MLB, and Megill’s success against righties has amassed enough of a sample size to think it’s legitimate.

Even with the market movement, the Mets are undervalued in the opening five innings. Back them to win after five at -120 or better.

Pick: Mets -0.5 first five innings (-120 or better)

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