Game time: 12:10 p.m. ET; Thursday, July 29, 2021
Venue: Citi Field, Flushing, N.Y.
Where to watch: Bally Sports South, SNY, MLBN
Atlanta Braves: 50-51 (Third place, National League East)
New York Mets: 53-46 (First place, National League East)
DraftKings: Mets -125, Braves +100; Over 8.5 -105, Under 8.5 -115
Vegas Insider: Mets -125, Braves +105
Atlanta: Ronald Acuna Jr. (ACL), Joc Pederson (stomach), Travis d'Arnaud (thumb), Ian Anderson (shoulder)
New York: Francisco Lindor (oblique), Noah Syndergaard (elbow), Jacob deGrom (forearm
New York Mets
Batting average: Freeman (.291)
Hits: Freeman (108)
Home runs: Freeman (23)
RBI: Albies (68)
Stolen bases: Albies (13)
Wins: Morton (10)
Saves: Smith (20)
ERA: Anderson (3.56)
Batting average: Alonso (.262)
Hits: Alonso (84)
Home runs: Alonso (22)
RBI: Alonso (60)
Stolen bases: Lindor (8)
Wins: Stroman, Walker, deGrom (7)
Saves: Diaz (22)
ERA: deGrom (1.08)
Atlanta: Brian Snitker (6th season)
New York: Luis Rojas (2nd season)
Atlanta: Entering Wednesday, the Braves have alternated wins and losses in their past 12 games. That is a lot of roller coaster-like baseball the likes of which we haven't seen. Atlanta has had to deal with injuries, most notably to Ronald Acuna Jr. for the remainder of the season, and will have to brave through this playoff push without their star outfielder. The Braves did defeat the Mets 12-5 at Citi Field on Tuesday night. Starting pitcher Charlie Morton allowed three runs in five innings with five strikeouts. Freddie Freeman is fortunately still there
New York: The Mets continue to look for any wiggle room atop the NL East. New York has also alternated wins and losses in their last five games. Both teams split Monday's doubleheader, a 2-0 loss followed by a 1-0 win. For the Mets, it's about getting to the finish line without ace Jacob deGrom hopefully for a short period of time. New York's offense continues to center around Pete Alonso, but that could change with Francisco Lindor's eventual return to the lineup.
The teams have split all 14 meetings entering this matchup. The Mets and Braves won't play until the final three-game set starting Oct. 1. That could potentially decide the NL East, should other teams (maybe Washington and Philadelphia) begin to pick up steam.
The key for Atlanta is finding that secondary offense from the batting order. Second baseman Ozzie Albies was expected to be that player, but he's batted .237 throughout the month of July. The two-time All-Star, including this season, is a speed threat with a team-best eight stolen bases. The Braves need to find ways to get on a winning streak and return to the playoffs; one of those ways is getting runners in scoring position to have the likes of Freddie Freeman bring them in. Atlanta being the 10th best scoring offense in the league needs to show that kind of production.
The Mets' success relies on Jacob deGrom's health, but their seventh-ranked pitching staff has been solid behind him. Marcus Stroman, despite being 7-9, has been stellar with a 2.63 ERA. Taijuan Walker has also been a solid starter for New York with a 7-4 record, but his 3.43 ERA indicates the offense has shown up when he's pitched. Walker is expected to start on Wednesday.
I remember the days of this being one of the best rivalries in baseball. The Braves were always the class of the NL East while the Mets felt the need to play catch-up every time. It was like the big brother finding all of the eggs on Easter Sunday while the little brother cried his way to sleep for not getting the best toys. Things have changed; the Mets have been to a World Series much more recent than the Braves, but it feels like they're on the doorstep.
This series will be crucial, however, to the shakeup of the National League East Division going forward. The Mets still have a decent grip on the top spot, and whether or not everyone gets healthy at the right time will remain to be seen. The health of deGrom, and how he's utilized, is going to be key. He should be back soon
- The Mets are 31-21 (+7.8 units) when they are a favorite of -110 or higher.
- Atlanta is 25-18 (+5.9 units) against the Mets the past three season. The average score has been 5-4.
- Seven of 13 matchups have gone under, with the average total being 7.5
It's hit-or-miss when trying to think of the total. Just in the past few meetings alone, there's been 4-3, maybe 2-0, even a 3-0. But then you look at June 30, a 20-2 win for the Braves, and then that aforementioned 12-5 Atlanta win on Tuesday. Especially, as noted, half the matchups have gone under. This one is no different and the bats will cool off. Take the under and the Mets win 4-2.
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