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Best Sports Picks Daily Digest: Oskeim Previews Thursday’s MLB Card

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New York Mets (+119) over Miami Marlins

Miami right-hander Jose Urena appears to be having a breakout season as evidenced by his 3.33 ERA and 1.25 WHIP in sixteen appearances (ten starts).  Urena leads the Marlins’ starting rotation in both wins and ERA, and manager Don Mattingly has noticed his growth.

“He has always had the power,” Mattingly said of Urena’s upper-90s fastball.  “But now his other pitchers are better.”  Prior to this season, Urena compiled a 5-14record in the big leagues so his swift turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular.

However, I am not sold on the 25-year-old hurler based upon his disturbing peripherals: 5.04 FIP, 5.57 xFIP and a 5.29 SIERA, together with pedestrian 5.63 K/9 and 3.45 BB/9 rates.  Urena has survived on an unsustainable .245 BABIP (career .288 BABIP) and a lucky 81.5% strand rate (career 69.1% LOB%).

Urena now faces a surging New York lineup that is averaging 5.7 runs per game on the road (.815 OPS) and 5.7 runs over its last seven games (.916 OPS).  Mets’ starter Seth Lugo toes the rubber with a 3.72 ERA and 1.39 WHIP this season, including posting a 3.55 ERA and 1.42 WHIP in two road outings.

To be fair, Lugo also possesses less-than-appealing peripherals, including a 4.38 FIP and a 4.98 xFIP.  But, the 27-year-old is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in two career starts against the Marlins.  Look for Lugo to improve to 3-0 against a scuffling Miami lineup that is averaging just 2.6 runs over its last seven games (.491 OPS) and 4.4 runs per game at home (.313 OBP).

From a technical standpoint, the Mets are 8-0 in Lugo’s last eight starts against National League foes with an on-base percentage of .325 or worse and 9-1 in Lugo’s last ten starts against teams that average seven or more strikeouts per game.

New York is also 9-1 in Lugo’s last ten starts overall, including 6-0 in his last six starts versus .499  or worse opposition, 5-0 in his last five road starts and 6-1 in his last seven outings against National League East opposition.  Let’s also note that the Mets are 57-28 on the road versus teams with a losing record and 4-1 in their last five games overall.

Meanwhile, the Marlins are 1-9 in Urena’s last ten starts following a quality appearance, 1-6 in Urena’s last seven starts versus divisional foes and 1-6 in his last seven starts against teams with a losing record. Finally, the road team is 4-1 in umpire Ryan Blakney’s last five games behind home plate.

Oskeim Sports’ Best Sports Picks Daily Recap: New York Mets +119

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