New York (Vargas) at Atlanta (Teheran)
Recommendation: Atlanta Team Total OVER 5
The Mets don't have many viable starting pitching options beyond Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. They traded Matt Harvey, Steven Matz left his last start with a finger injury, Zack Wheeler's ERA is currently 5.40, rookie P.J. Conlon isn't ready to compete at this level, the aforementioned Syndergaard was just placed on the DL, and Robert Gsellman is clearly better off as a reliever. That leaves Seth Lugo, who is likely to start later this week and tonight's starter Jason Vargas. Last season, Vargas was clearly "fresh" after tossing only 55 innings for the Royals in 2015 and 2016 due to injury. He logged 179.2 IP last year and was serviceable with a 4.16 ERA. This season has been a disaster even when you account for some "unlucky" results. Vargas' K-rate is an excellent 9.3 and his BABIP (.424) and LOB rate (57.4%) suggest things should start to go his way moving forward. But there are plenty of signs indicating his path towards the "norm" won't be easy. Virtually every batted ball statistic (line drive, soft, and hard hit rates) are currently career-worsts. And Vargas' walk rate (4.43) is a prime indicator there's a fear of coming in the strike zone. Let's also not forget the schedule comes up light. Outside of tonight's opponent, Atlanta, who smoked him for six runs in 4.2 IP, Vargas drew three of the weakest lineups in MLB in Cincinnati, San Diego, and Miami. Hard to get a read on Atlanta starter Julio Teheran who has pitched well at times but has a poor history at home. Think they better play is to focus on Vargas' shortcomings as well as a Mets' bullen that has been overwork of late (29.1 IP, 7.37 ERA L7 days).