The Atlanta Braves are in New York today for game three of a three-game series with the Mets. The Braves took game one of the series 3-2, behind a dominant start from prized prospect Mike Soroka. Soroka made his major league debut and dazzled. He gave up just one run in six innings of work and picked up the win. Game two was a similar story as the Braves starter, Sean Newcomb dominated. Newcomb pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits while striking out eight and the Braves coasted to a 7-0 victory.
The Braves will look for the sweep tonight and will send their opening day starter Julio Teheran (1-1 4.50 ERA) to the mound. The Mets will try and salvage one game of the series with the newly acquired Jason Vargas (0-1 22.09 ERA) making his second start of the season. The Mets are small -112 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 AM PST from Citi Field.
The baby Braves as they have quickly been dubbed this season are impressing ahead of schedule. Most didn’t expect this team to compete for the playoffs just yet as the roster is chalked full of promising, yet unproven youngsters. Well, here they are at 18-11 and in first place in their division. The Braves have called up multiple young guys in the last couple of days, and they are all impressing. The most impressive of the bunch is likely Ronald Acuna Jr.
Acuna was ranked as the number one prospect in baseball coming into spring training this year. After tearing it up in the spring season to the tune of a .432 batting average, the Braves sent him down to the minors to start the season, as they wanted another year of team control. We have seen this move a lot lately, and it is understandable. Until they change the rule, you can expect most prospects to be brought up late like this.
Acuna is now the youngest player on any active MLB roster, surpassing his Braves teammate Ozzie Albies. The baby Braves are certainly earning their nickname with this group of young guys. In his first seven games in the big leagues, Acuna has impressed and is slashing .345. With all of these young guys on the team, the Braves badly need some veteran leadership if they want to break through this year and make the playoffs. They will have that on the mound tonight in starter Julio Teheran.
It wasn’t that long ago that Teheran was the young up and comer. Now at just twenty-seven years old, Teheran is the elder statesmen of this Braves team. Teheran has had a bit of an up and down start to his career. At times he seems unhittable, other times he can’t seem to stay consistent. His season has started out that way as well.
In his last start against the Mets on April 21st, Teheran pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just four hits and striking out six. The start before that he pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Philadelphia Phillies. In his last start? He got run form the game after just three innings. The Braves keep a very tight leash on Teheran and if he doesn’t have his best stuff they yank him out quickly. That was the second time already this year that Teheran didn’t make it past the third inning.
The Mets will start Jason Vargas in his second start of the year after he started the season on the disabled list. Vargas was brought to the team to add depth to the rotation but has been thrust into a starting role after Phil Hughes was pulled for being ineffective. The season did not start well for Vargas as he got smashed in his first outing. Vargas got pummeled for nine runs in just three and two-thirds of an inning against the light swinging San Diego Padres. It will be curious to see if Vargas can still be a guy that be counted on to win games. He is getting old and has missed a lot of time with injury.
I am officially on the baby Braves bandwagon. This team is young, and they hustle hard, and now that they have most of what should be called up with Acuna and Soroka now on the roster, I expect this team to be exciting and fun to watch. Now, that being said, they are young, and they are going to have some very high highs, and likely some very low lows along the way. But right now, they are riding high and have won six out of their last seven games.
Don’t look now, but the Braves are number one in the majors in batting average and on-base percentage. These guys can hit, and they score a lot of runs. I don’t think Jason Vargas will be able to slow them down one bit tonight. Vargas was rushed back a little before he was ready and if he gets hammered again today might head back to the DL.
I was a bit surprised to see the Mets as favorites and will back the Braves feeling like I am getting the best of it and snatch up some dog money. This would be a game I would even consider hitting the run line on if the Braves shift to a favorite and it is offered before game time. This one doesn’t feel close to me.
Give me the Atlanta Braves as road dogs this morning in New York!