Saturday Night Baseball: Cincinnati Reds at New York Mets

The Cincinnati Reds (36-27, 16-14 away) take on the New York Mets (35-30, 19-13 home) for the second meeting of a 3-game series being played out at Citi Field in New York City, NY. With game time scheduled for 7:15 PM ET, you won’t want to miss out on the online sports betting options for Game 2, of what is certain to be one of the better MLB match-ups for wagering on this weekend.

After a solid opening victory for the visiting Reds on Friday night, the New York Mets will look to rebound by reawakening their red-hot bats, which previously had provided them with a mid-week sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, averaging over 9.5 runs per game. The Mets however were stymied by some excellent pitching on Friday night, in Game 1 of the lone National League series this weekend, courtesy of Bronson Arroyo. Arroyo allowed 3 runs on just 4 hits through six innings of work, and was boosted by a no-hit, shutout performance by the Cincinnati bullpen over the final 3 innings in a 7-3 victory. With the Mets producing 10-plus hits per game during their series sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays prior to this meeting with the Reds, their main focus tonight will be getting back on the hitting track, against a Cincinnati team that has now won 4 straight games while averaging an impressive 7.5 runs/game during that stretch. Going up against Reds’ pitcher Homer Bailey (4-4, 4.35 ERA) for the first time this season might be just the thing to get the Mets’ bats back in order, as they’ve had great success against him in the two previous starts he’s had against New York.

Homer Bailey actually has allowed the Mets the highest batting average of any opponent he’s face in the last 3 years, with New York batting .477 against him over 2 starts. Bailey struggled mightily with the Mets, allowing 13 runs in just 9 innings of work over two games, and gave up a whopping 21 hits in those outings. A good sign for the Reds tonight however, is the fact that Bailey has been improving his form on the road, where he’s been the best this season (3-2, 3.49 ERA away from the Great American Ballpark, 1-2, 5.35 ERA at home). He’s won his last two starts on the road, including a complete game 4-hit effort at Pittsburgh in his last appearance away from home. Getting another quality start out of Bailey is essential for the Cincinnati Reds tonight, and they’ll be facing a strong starter from the Mets in Jonathon Niese (4-2, 3.69 ERA), who is working on 13 straight innings with no earned runs allowed over his past two starts, and is 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA in his last 4 outings, posting a better than a strikeout per inning during that stretch. With two pitchers looking to keep the scoring down in tonight’s critical middle game of the series, expect some added emphasis on a few key batsmen across bot the Reds’ and Mets’ lineups to be the difference makers in this showdown.

For the Cincinnati Reds, their bats are picking up at just the right time. After sitting just barely ahead of Pittsburgh for weeks in the top spot in the NL Central division, their Reds’ 4-game winning streak combined with Pittsburgh’s 4-game losing streak now finds them with a comfortable 4-game cushion, and building on that lead is a priority for Cincinnati. Brandon Phillips has undoubtedly been the lightning rod for the resurgence in the Reds’ hitting game, batting .500 (11-for-22) with 3 home runs and 9 RBI over his past 5 games. Blasting his third consecutive homer in last night’s road win to start the series with the Mets, Phillips could be a key difference maker with runs possibly harder to come by in the face of Jonathon Niese. For his career, he’s 5-for-10 with 2 homers and 3 RBI against Niese. Another key figure to watch out for is fill-in shortstop Wilson Valdez, who while rather inconsistent at the plate this season, comes off a great 2-for-5, 3 RBI performance last night, and has the most experience of any Reds player against Niese over his career. Valdez is 7-for-19 (.368) with 3 doubles, and getting a back-to-back leading effort from a lesser-known player would certainly help the Reds in their quest for their 5th straight victory.

On the Mets’ offensive end, they have suffered yet another unfortunate setback in the form of Jason Bay, who is headed back on the DL after suffering another concussion in last night’s game, slamming head-first into the wall while trying to chase down what became an inside-the-park home run for Jay Bruce. Though it’s incredibly bad luck to have Bay out again, as he was just starting to emerge from a recent injury that kept him out for most of the beginning of the year, fortunately they’ll be filling his role in left field with Scott Hairston, who has hit 6 homers in his last 14 starts, the best ratio of anyone currently in the MLB. Hairston coincidentally is the only Mets’ player that has a home run against Reds’ pitcher Homer Bailey, and his big bat would definitely be a major key to New York bouncing back from a tough hitting night in the Game 1 loss. Another Mets player we’re watching out for is David Wright, who is 4-for-6 against Bailey, and continues to tear it up while sitting 4th in the National League in batting average with a .357 mark. He’s hit successfully in 9 out of his last 10 games played, but at home is where he’s need to improve his game (hitting just .287 vs. .411 on the road). Fortunately for him though, he loves getting at Cincinnati pitching, hitting .354 against them over the past 3 years, and we’re looking out for him to have a continuation of solid form against Bailey this evening.

Betting Lines for the New York Mets vs. Cincinnati Reds at Bookmaker Sportsbook.

For Game 2 tonight, the Mets get the slight favorite at home behind the red-hot Jonathon Niese, securing -122 odds at the Bookmaker Sportsbook. Bookmaker has a great tool to show you what percentage of the money is backing each wager, and for tonight’s showdown it’s pretty even on the money line with 55.9 percent of the wagers taking the favorite. At +102 odds, the Cincinnati Reds have attracted 44.1 percent of the wagers going straight up.

Against the spread, the Mets will have to make up 1 ½ runs to earn spread pickers +180 odds. That’s highly tempting considering that the Mets could be in for a bounce-back effort tonight (getting 48 percent of the wagers thus far), but the safe bet is siding with the Reds to stay within 1 ½ runs (-210) odds, as the majority are expecting that even in a loss, Cincinnati’s bats will help keep this game close.

For the total points line, the over/under stands at 7 ½ runs. This may be the most advantageous wagering option at Bookmaker today, as both teams have been tearing up the scoreboard recently, with the Reds averaging 7.5 runs per game over their past 4 wins, and even after last night’s 3-run effort, the Mets are still holding down 8 runs per game in their last 4 outings. While we might be expecting one of these pitchers to have strong outing, it could be a solid wager to back the combined hitting efforts of both teams to break through the 7 ½ runs tonight.

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