New York Mets (Jonathon Niese) vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Kyle Kendrick) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

New York Mets (13-9) Jonathon Niese, at Philadelphia Phillies
(12-9) Kyle Kendrick, Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, Pa., 7:05
PM EST, Friday, April 30th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Mets +140/Phillies -150
Total: 10.5

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This weekends showdown for early bragging rights atop the National
League East standings between the red-hot New York Mets and the
Philadelphia Phillies begins with a matchup of streaky young pitchers
when the Mets send lefty Jonathon Niese out to keep the streak alive
against the Phillies Kyle Kendrick.

The Mets win streak reached seven games with a 7-3 victory over the
Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday, sweeping the Dodgers and in the
process completing their 10-game homestand with a 9-1 record to move
from the bottom of the NL East to past the Phillies and to the top by
a half-game.

Philly salvaged the final game of their series in San Francisco
Wednesday, tying the game with some late-inning heroics off of Giants
closer Brian Wilson and then winning it in extras, 7-6. The win in
the finale allowed the Phillies to finish their West Coast trip at
4-5, and finally get back home into Citizens Bank Park where theyve
only played six games this season.

With a pitching matchup loaded with questions, oddsmakers out in Las
Vegas seem to taking experience over substance because the Phillies
and righty Kendrick are listed as surprisingly high -150 favorites on
the moneyline. That makes MLBs hottest team right now a tantalizing
+140 underdog on the dimeline, or even higher at books that offer
reduced juice.

The over/under total opened at 10.5 overnight and has yet to budge during early wagering at the window.

When I mentioned that oddsmakers are siding with experience over
substance, Im referring to recent history only.

The young lefty Niese has never faced the Phillies in his 12 MLB
starts, and he was knocked around well in his first two starts of the
season (12 IP, 17 H, 8 R) against the Marlins and Rockies. But he has
thrown two gems during the Mets winning streak, allowing just two
runs over 13 innings in victories over the Cubs and Braves.

His on-base (.406) and WHIP (1.94) are too high because of eight
walks over the past two starts, which is why you would worry about
siding with the Mets tonight and it also might help to explain the
high 10.5 total.

The book on Kendrick is so frustrating for Phillies fans (and
baseball bettors) because the righty certainly has the stuff to throw
8-innings of 4-hit shutout baseball, which he did against the Braves
two starts ago (April 20th). The problem is that game was his ONLY
good start this season, because in the other three hes allowed more
than five runs in each and never made it out of the fifth inning in
any of them either.

Kendrick made one start against the Phillies last season, throwing a solid seven-inning, seven-hit, two-run quality start in what turned
into a 5-4 victory for the Phillies. But that start was in mid-
September and the Mets started players like Josh Thole, Anderson
Hernandez and Wilson Valdez in their lineup that day, so that that
for what its worth. For the season Kendrick’s numbers are straight
up ugly (.391 OBP, 7.71 ERA, 1.77 WHIP), so I don’t know how you can
back the Phillies with confidence tonight either.

The Phillies went 7-2 at Citizens Bank Park against the Mets last
season (12-6 overall) and the under was a solid 7-2 in those same
nine games despite the often friendly confines of Phillies home diamond.

Badgers Pick: I fully expect these two teams to trade blows back-and-forth all game long as the battle for the NL East, so Im on the
over even though its listed at a rather high 10.5 total. Im also on
the value of the Red-hot Mets as dogs here too, taking them at +140.