Rays vs. Mets MLB Expert Pick and Prediction – May 16, 2023
RAYS VS. METS MLB EXPERT PICK AND PREDICTION – May 16, 2023 — A road swing of Detroit, Cincinnati and Washington, plus a home series against Colorado, should produce some wins. The Mets went 4-9 against that quartet and they’ve now fallen to 20-22 on the season.
That’s not exactly great preparation for facing Tampa Bay, even if the Rays are showing signs of struggling. The Rays shot out of the blocks in the first couple weeks of the season against a weak schedule, and they’re starting to find the going rougher against AL East competition. In their past 10 games, they’re just 5-5, although they’ve been facing much tougher competition in the Yankees and Orioles.
But the Mets do have one big thing going for them: Justin Verlander makes his debut at Citi Field after making his first two starts on the road. Whether that makes a difference remains to be seen, though, as the Rays represent a big step up with their lineup. Tampa Bay leads the majors in runs scored, averaging 6.2 runs per game. If Verlander’s not ready to go, this will be a long day for New York.
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
(20-22 SU, 16-26 RL)
When: Tuesday, May 16th at 7:10 p.m. EDT
Where: Citi Field, New York
Starting Pitchers: Jalen Beeks, TB (1-2, 5.40 ERA, 16 K’s) vs. Justin Verlander, NYM (4-1, 2.68 ERA, 29 K’s)
Public Bets: 64% on Tampa Bay
Public Money: 73% on Tampa Bay
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of May 15th, 2023
Tampa Bay vs. New York In-Season Trends
If you’re not watching the first inning when the Mets play, there’s a good chance you’re going to miss a run being scored. New York now ranks last in the majors in allowing a run in the first inning, giving up a first-inning run in 47.6% of its games this season. And that’s likely to continue, because Justin Verlander is the kind of pitcher who must ease into a game.
Verlander has given up three runs this season, and they’ve all come in the first inning. Once he gets that out of the way, however, he’s as dominant as ever, pitching 10 scoreless innings. Tampa Bay isn’t likely to waste time: the Rays’ offense is very efficient, ranking third in the majors in scoring in the opening frame.
Of course, the Rays end to score a healthy amount of runs even when it’s not the first inning. In their past four games against the Yankees, the OVER cashed all four times and the Rays scored eight runs on their own three times. The Mets’ offense isn’t likely to provide much help: New York has scored three runs or less in five of its past six games.
Players to Watch
If Wander Franco gets on base, look for him to swipe a base or two. Franco leads the Rays in steals with 12, and the Mets haven’t been great at throwing out would-be base thieves. New York allows 0.83 steals per game, which ranks 23rd in the majors. That means someone from Tampa Bay is probably getting a steal, and Franco is the most likely choice.
For the Mets, Brandon Nimmo is easily the most likely choice to get a hit, as he’s the only New York player hitting above .300. There aren’t a ton of great options for a Mets prop, but Nimmo getting a hit or scoring a run are both fairly likely prospects.
I don’t love the idea of backing the Rays in a bullpen game, but the Mets really haven’t played well as of late and I’m looking for Verlander to prove he can still get it done at age 40 against a stronger lineup.
The one thing we know doesn’t happen with Verlander is that he doesn’t slam the door early. As such, I think the most likely play is to back the Rays for the early run and get out with a victory. I’d rather not count on either side’s pitching in the later innings, as I think this could be high-scoring in the later innings.
Rays Run First Inning
Brandon Nimmo O0.5 Hits