Yesterday’s condensed slate is a distant memory as we have a full boat of MLB games on Tuesday. One game gets underway this afternoon, while another 15 are on the evening portion of the slate. That leaves us plenty of different directions to go for our viewing and handicapping pleasure, but one contest has really jumped out at us.
The red-hot New York Mets are headed to Atlanta for the opener of a three-game set with the Braves, the leaders of the National League East. Eight games separate these squads in the standings, but the visitors have been en fuego in recent times.
Since the All-Star break, the Mets are an eye-popping 21-7. Over the same span, the Braves are 16-13. New York has evolved from a team which was looking like an also-ran for 2019 to one which is in the thick of the Wild Card hunt. As this series gets underway, they find themselves with a big opportunity to chip away at Atlanta’s big lead in the division.
It shapes up to be a fascinating series, so our attention is fully piqued. Let’s take a closer look at this contest in full detail.
New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves, 7:20 PM EST, MLBN
Mets vs. Braves Pick:
The Mets spent the weekend at home for three with the Washington Nationals. They won the first two games of the set by a combined score of 11-9, but dropped the finale on Sunday by a margin of 7-4. Since the break, New York has won eight of nine series.
They’re currently in 3rd place in the NL East, eight games back of the Braves and two behind the 2nd place Nationals. For the Wild Card, the team is a game behind. The Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals lead in that chase, with the Milwaukee Brewers a half-game back.
The Braves were on the road over the weekend for four with the Miami Marlins. They earned a split in that set, picking up a 5-4 win in the final game. The team is 4-2-3 for series since the break, and 1-0-2 for the last three sets.
Atlanta has a six-game lead over the Nationals and enters this series eight games in front of the Mets.
They have the second-best record in the NL overall, behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers. While the team’s lead in the NL East is comfortable at the moment, it’s getting tighter as the season moves along.
|NY Mets||61-57||L1||8-2||3-NL East||569||557|
Tonight’s game marks the start of a six-game road trip for the Mets. They just wrapped up a seven-game homestand for which they went 6-1, losing the final game. For the year, the team is 34-21 at home and 27-36 on the road.
New York has been playing excellent baseball of late. They check in with a mark of 4-1 over the last five and 8-2 over the last 10 games. The team had some struggles in the early part of the year. On the season-to-date, the team has a run differential of +12.
This series is the beginning of a nine-game home stretch for the Braves. The team just closed out a seven-game road swing for which they went 4-3. On the season, the club is 32-25 on the home field and 38-25 in road tilts.
Atlanta checks in with a mark of 3-2 over its last five games and 5-5 over the last 10. The club was playing well heading into the break, but they have only been a bit above average since then. For the year, the team is +62 on run differential.
The Braves have the overall advantage at the plate, but the teams have been producing similar results lately. Jeff McNeil is batting .334 to lead the Mets. Pete Alonso tops the team with 38 homers and 85 RBIs. Freddie Freeman leads the way for Atlanta with a .309 BA and 95 ribbies. Ronald Acuna Jr. is the team leader with 33 HRs.
Wheeler has had some trouble spots this season, but he has been fantastic over his last two. He’s allowed zero earned runs over 15 innings for the two games, and he has wins in his last three trips to the hill. Fried has 24 total appearances on the year and wins in his last four in a row. Last time out, he gave up three earned runs over 5.1 innings in a victory over the Minnesota Twins.
Atlanta has the overall edge when the relievers get involved, but the New York pen has shown improvement over its recent hot run. Wheeler has pitched five innings or more in each of his last eight starts. Fried has done the same for his last eight appearances, but he hasn’t lasted past the 6th inning in any of them. Wheeler has hit six innings or more six times over that span.
These two squads have hooked up 10 times this season with the Braves holding a 6-4 edge. They have another series in New York later this month, and they’ll also be hooking up for three games in the Big Apple in late September.
The way that the Mets have been playing lately gives this series the feel of a playoff set as we head in. It’s a great pitching matchup to get the ball rolling, but Wheeler has been that much better of late. We like New York to open up this intriguing series with a win.