Sunday MLB ESPN Preview: Atlanta Braves at the New York Mets.
The Atlanta Braves close out their weekend series in New York against the Mets at Citi Field for Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN at 7:08 PM ET.
After a rainout on Friday, the Mets won the opener of this series yesterday with a 13-2 victory. The club began the day second-to-last in runs-per-game but got home runs from Francisco Lindor, Jonathan Villar, James McCann, Billy McKinney, and Brandon Drury in the offensive barrage.
New York has won four games in a row to raise their record to 25-20. They are 3.5 games up on Philadelphia and the Braves in the National League East.
Manager Luis Rojas has struggled to fill out lineup cards this season with 16 players on the injured list. The Mets began the week having used 41 different players in their first 41 games. They only used 47 players all of last season. The franchise record for players used in a season is 56. Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil headline the list of players they are currently missing. Both players are out until June with hamstring injuries.
First baseman Pete Alonso leads the team with six home runs. He is hitting .236 with 19 RBIs. Jonathan Villar has offered a spark getting into the lineup and batting leadoff. He has five homes and 13 RBIs to go along with five stolen bases and a .231 batting average. The Mets hope yesterday’s home run breaks Lindor out of a season-long slump. Their prized free-agent signing in the offseason is hitting only .219 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. As a team, New York is scoring 3.4 runs per game with a .224 batting average, .299 on-base percentage, and a .641 OPS.
Jacob DeGrom takes the hill for the Mets with a 3-2 record with a 0.80 ERA and a 0.61 WHIP in seven starts. He returned from a stint on the disabled list with a side injury to pitch five innings where he allowed only one run against Colorado on Tuesday. He struck out nine batters. The New York bullpen has a 3.48 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP.
Atlanta managed only five hits yesterday. They are scoring 4.9 runs per game with a .235 batting average, .307 on-base percentage, and a .748 OPS. Ronald Acuna, Jr. has 15 home runs and 32 RBIs and a .278 batting average. Freddie Freeman has added 12 homers and 29 RBIs and a .239 batting average. The hot-hitting Austin Riley is batting .313 with 10 homers and 22 RBIs.
The Braves are in third place in the NL East with a 24-26 record, 3 1/2 games behind the Mets. The defending division champions have not been over .500 all season. They outscored Pittsburgh last weekend by a 33-3 margin in the series to erase their negative run differential, but they have fallen back to a -2 net run differential after their two-game losing streak.
Atlanta placed Marcell Ozuna on the disabled list with a finger injury. During yesterday’s loss, he was arrested for aggravated assault to add further complications regarding when he will get back on the field. The Braves also have their opening day catcher, Travis D’Arnaud, on the 60-day disabled list with a thumb injury.
Max Fried makes the start tonight. He has allowed only one earned run in four straight starts after pitching seven innings last Sunday in a win against Pittsburgh. The left-hander has a 2-2 record with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP in seven starts. The Atlanta bullpen has a 4.49 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP.
New York has won three of the four meetings this season. They have outscored the Braves by a 24 to 11 run margin.
BookMaker lists the Mets as a -137 money line favorite, with the total set at 5.5.
Computer prediction: New York Mets 5 Atlanta Braves 0