The Mets (36-29) return to Citi Field after a weekend in DC to face the Atlanta Braves (33-36) for four games. The last time Atlanta traveled to Citi Field, rain washed away two of the three games, with the Mets manhandling the Braves in the middle game. Overall, New York has won three of the four games in the season series. The Braves have not yet been above .500 this season, and the Mets will attempt to keep it that way.
The Mets kicked off a 16-game stretch exclusively against NL East teams by dropping three out of four to the Washington Nationals over the weekend. The Mets were shut out for a second straight night as they dropped the opener 1-0 on Friday. Joey Lucchesi had his longest outing of the year, shutting out the Nationals over 5.1 innings, though he landed on the IL immediately afterwards with elbow inflammation. On the other side, the Mets had no answer for Erick Fedde, who stymied them all evening. The game remained scoreless into the ninth, when Washington walked it off against Edwin Díaz on a Yan Gomes single.
The Mets played their first of what will be three doubleheaders in seven games on Saturday, splitting the pair of games at Nationals Park. The first game was the Francisco Lindor Show, as the shortstop broke out with two home runs on the afternoon. He drove in all five runs for New York in the 5-1 victory. On the mound, David Peterson turned in his second straight solid start, falling one out short of being able to claim a victory.
In the nightcap, the bats once again went cold, this time finding it impossible to solve veteran left-hander Jon Lester until it was too late. The Mets went with Gsellman as an opener, and he gave up a leadoff homer to Kyle Schwarber, which was enough to get him the loss. Sean Reid-Foley imploded in relief, allowing five earned runs—Schwarber’s three-run homer was the killer—over 1.2 innings before Yennsey Díaz pitched the final 2.1 innings. The Mets didn’t do a thing until José Peraza’s two-run homer in the seventh, but that was as close as they would get in a 6-2 defeat.
The offense continued its struggles on Sunday with a 5-2 defeat to cap off a series loss. The only offense came on solo home runs from Kevin Pillar and from Pete Alonso, but otherwise the lineup was held in check by Patrick Corbin and the Washington bullpen. For the second straight game, the Mets were beaten by Schwarber. After hitting two homers on Saturday night, the outfielder hit three against the Mets, which sealed their fate.
The offense over the weekend, save for Lindor’s big game on Saturday, was non-existent. The Mets combined to score seven runs in the final three games in Washington DC after getting shut out on Friday. They’ve combined to score seven runs over their last five games, but on the bright side, their starting pitchers have combined to give up eight earned runs in 25.1 innings, which is good for a 2.84 ERA.
The team’s scuffling lineup will be getting some reinforcements back starting today. Jeff McNeil should be activated off the IL following his successful rehab assignment and should be starting in one of the team’s two games on Monday. Prior to landing on the IL with a hamstring injury in mid-May, McNeil was hitting .242/.336/.374 with three homers, a 106 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR in 32 games. Meanwhile, Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo are rehabbing and should be back before month’s end if all goes well. Conforto was slashing .230/.356/.336 with two homers, a 106 wRC+, and a 0.3 fWAR in 34 games prior to his injury, while Nimmo had posted a .318/.430/.439 slash line with one home run, a 152 wRC+, and a 0.8 fWAR in 22 games.
The Braves won three out of four against the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, which included splitting a doubleheader on Sunday. This comes after they got swept in a two-game set against the Boston Red Sox earlier in the week. Since getting swept in that one-game weekend series last month at Citi Field, Atlanta has gone 9-10. They current sit tied for third place with the Nationals, five games behind the Mets.
Ronald Acuña Jr. has continued his tremendous play as he continues to lead the way for Atlanta. In 18 games this month, Acuña Jr. is hitting .311/.463/.574 with three home runs, a 181 wRC+, and a 1.2 fWAR. Good Guy and Met Killer Freddie Freeman leads the club with four long balls this month while slashing .278/.338/.472 with a 117 wRC+ and a 0.3 fWAR in 18 games. Meanwhile, Abraham Almonte has been a big boost to the Braves’ lineup since getting the call up on May 31. In 19 games for his new c, the outfielder is hitting .271/.438/.479 with a 154 wRC+ and a 0.5 fWAR.
On the downside for Atlanta, two of their lineup stalwarts have struggled this month. Shortstop Dansby Swanson has hit .215/.271/.431 with three home runs, an 89 wRC+, and a 0.2 fWAR in 18 June games. Meanwhile, Austin Riley has come crashing back down to Earth in June after a solid start for the Braves, slashing .227/.274/.348 with two home runs, a 69 wRC+, and a -0.2 fWAR in 17 June games.
Monday, June 21, Game 1: Ian Anderson vs. Jacob deGrom, 5:10 p.m. on SNY
Anderson (2021): 70.1 IP, 74 K, 27 BB, 6 HR, 3.58 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 1.22 WHIP, 2.1 bWAR
Anderson has had an up-and-down season for the Braves, showing glimpses of being a great starter some days while frustrating his team on other days. In three of his last four starts, he’s failed to last five innings and has given up four earned runs. In the other start against the Phillies, he pitched seven shutout innings. In general, he’s shut out his opponent through six-plus innings in four of his starts this year. His last start against the Red Sox saw him go four innings and gave up four earned runs on a seven hits. He had a nearly-identical line against the Mets on May 30 at Citi Field, allowing four earned runs on seven hits over four innings in a game New York would go on to win 13-2.
deGrom (2021): 67.0 IP, 111 K, 8 BB, 3 HR, 0.54 ERA, 0.80 FIP, 0.51 WHIP, 4.2 bWAR
deGrom has proclaimed himself good to go on Monday, just five days after exiting his last start early with right shoulder soreness. He seems to think the injury came from swinging the bat, and he has gone through his regular in-between start routine without any hiccups. We likely will not know if the best pitcher in baseball is on any sort of pitch limit until the game itself, as Luis Rojas has kept everything with Jake very close to the vest. In his last start, deGrom struck out eight of the nine batters he faced, and was well on his way to another routinely brilliant Jake start before he was forced to exit. He also drove in a run in the second inning with a single, which gave him six RBI against four earned runs allowed.
Monday, June 21, Game 2: Kyle Muller vs. TBD, ~30-45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1 on SNY
Muller (2021): 1.0 IP, 1 K, 0 BB, 0 HR, 18.00 ERA, 1.17 FIP, 4.00 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR
Muller will be called on to make the first start of his major league career in the Monday doubleheader for Atlanta. The 23-year-old was picked 44th overall in the 2016 MLB Draft by the Braves and debuted earlier this month in relief, allowing two earned runs in his one inning of work against the Red Sox. In seven starts for Triple-A, the left-hander was pitching to a 4.60 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 19 walks in 31.1 innings.
The Mets have not yet named a starting pitcher for Monday’s Game 2 against the Braves. It will likely be Jerad Eickoff, whom the team called up prior to Sunday’s game.
Tuesday, June 22: Charlie Morton vs. Marcus Stroman, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Morton (2021): 73.2 IP, 82 K, 26 BB, 7 HR, 4.03 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 1.21 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR
Morton turned in by far his best outing in his return to Atlanta his last time out. The veteran right-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh before surrendering a one-out single to Paul Goldschmidt. He lasted into the eighth for the first time this season, as he ended up scattering three singles while shutting out St. Louis over 7.2 innings pitched. He also threw a season-high 112 pitches, tossing 75 of them (67%) for strikes. In his career, Morton owns a 3.52 ERA in 53.2 innings (nine starts) against the Mets. That includes a terrific outing against the Mets earlier this season, when he limited New York to one earned run on two hits with eight strikeouts over six innings pitched.
Stroman (2021): 84.1 IP, 75 K, 19 BB, 9 HR, 2.35 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 1.9 bWAR
Stroman deserved much better than being saddled with the loss in his last outing, as he allowed two earned runs on four hits with one walk and eight strikeouts over seven innings. A two-run homer by Javier Baez, the third batter of the game, was really the lone blemish against his record on the evening. It was his third straight start pitching into the seventh, and his fifth straight quality start. Since giving up five earned runs over six innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on May 16, Stroman owns a 1.89 ERA, a 2.80 FIP, a 1.03 WHIP, and a 26.8% K% in 38.0 innings spanning six starts.
Wednesday, June 23: Max Fried vs. TBD, 7:10 p.m. on SNY
Fried (2021): 57.2 IP, 55 K, 20 BB, 6 HR, 4.21 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 1.4 bWAR
Fried has found his rhythm as of late and has performed like the pitcher who finished fifth in NL Cy Young voting last season. He has picked up quality starts in three straight outings and in six of his last seven. Since returning from a three-week stint on the injured list on May 5, he has allowed one earned run in five of his seven starts and is pitching to a 2.51 ERA, a 3.34 FIP, and a 1.05 WHIP over 46.2 innings. He earned a win in his last outing, holding the Cardinals to one earned run on two hits with six strikeouts over seven innings. He was a hard-luck loser against the Mets at Truist Park in May, as he struck out a season-high eight and allowed one earned run on five hits over six innings.
The Mets have not yet named a starting pitcher for Wednesday’s game against the Braves. This was originally slated to be Lucchesi’s spot in the rotation.
Prediction: The Mets will split four with the Braves, taking the deGrom and Stroman starts.
How will the Mets fare in their four game series against the Braves?
This poll is closed
The Mets sweep Atlanta away!
The Mets take three of four to grow their lead over the Braves!
The Mets and Braves split a pair at Citi.
The Mets steal one, but they slip a bit by dropping three of four.
The Mets are chopped by Atlanta in a four-game sweep.