After a series loss to the Colorado Rockies over the weekend dropped them under .500 for the season, the New York Mets hit the road looking to right the ship in a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds. First pitch of the opener from Great American Ballpark is set for 6:40 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Max Scherzer (2-2, 5.56 ERA) will make the start for New York despite battling shoulder discomfort, while Luke Weaver (0-2, 7.88) goes for Cincy.
Despite their (and Scherzer’s) recent play, the Mets are currently big -195 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Reds check in at +165. The run total is set at 9.5.
Mets-Reds picks: Tuesday, May 9
Out: RP Brooks Raley (hamstring), SP Carlos Carrasco (elbow), OF Tim Locastro (back)
Day to day: OF Jake Fraley (back), RP Reiver Sanmartin (elbow)
Out: 1B Joey Votto (shoulder), RP Connor Overton (elbow)
Max Scherzer vs. Luke Weaver
It’s safe to say this isn’t the start Scherzer or the Mets envisioned this spring. The righty first began experiencing shoulder soreness in early April, and while he was able to fight through, the condition apparently flared back up in his return from a 10-game suspension last week against the Detroit Tigers. Scherzer was roughed up for six runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings, with notably diminished velocity on his fastball, although the righty told reporters that his shoulder is trending in the right direction and he hadn’t experienced a setback. Something has to change soon, though, because opponents are currently teeing off on that heater to the tune of a .605 slugging percentage. Hopefully the further he gets from the suspension-induced layoff, the better his stuff starts to look.
Weaver, meanwhile, has been a disaster for the Reds, giving up at least four runs in each of his three outings so far and ranking at the very bottom of the league in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate and barrel rate. With a fastball down around 93 mph (from 95 last year), Weaver doesn’t have a heater that can keep batters off his breaking stuff, and the results haven’t been pretty — if ever there were a day for the Mets’ bats to break out of their slump, here it is.
Weaver’s last two starts have totaled 11 and 13 runs, and I expect a high-scoring affair today even if Scherzer starts looking more like his old self. The Reds have been feisty against right-handed pitching, and they should do enough to allow this over to hit as the Mets tee off against Weaver in a hitter’s paradise in Cincy.
Pick: Over 9.5
New York has to wake up eventually, right? Weaver simply hasn’t shown the ability to get big-league hitters out consistently this year, and after a day off yesterday, the Mets should be chomping at the bit tonight.