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Mets conclude stretch against NL East foes with three in Atlanta

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The Mets have maintained first despite a subpar showing against their NL East counterparts these past two weeks.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Mets (40-34) travel to Truist Park to finish off a 16-game stretch against NL East opponents with three against the Atlanta Braves (37-40). The Mets won two out of three down in Georgia earlier this season, and have earned victories in five out of eight overall against their longtime nemesis.

Following a weekend split against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets made a pit stop in Washington DC and promptly lost their game to the Washington Nationals by an 8-4 score. The Mets were once again beaten by Kyle Schwarber, who hit two more home runs against them to make it seven in the last three contests against New York. In total, Washington launched five homers against the Mets, which accounted for seven of their eight runs. The Mets mounted a late rally with a run in the seventh, and then three more in the eighth on back-to-back homers from Pete Alonso and Billy McKinney, but it was not enough. Ryan Zimmerman’s eighth inning homer off Miguel Castro, following a botched double play opportunity by Travis Blankehorn, put the game away.

Yesterday’s game was rare, in that it was only the sixth time this year that the Mets lost when scoring at least four runs. The offense has been abysmal as of late, with New York scoring 33 runs over their last 14 games (2.36 runs-per-game). The Mets recently got both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil back, but both have struggled since their return. Since returning from his injury, Conforto has only picked up two in 15 at-bats, although he did record the game-winning sacrifice fly on Saturday. McNeil went 0-for-12 against Philadelphia over the weekend before picking up two singles in yesterday’s loss. Still, the second baseman has gone just 6-for-29 since his return.

One of the most curious offensive phenomena of 2021 has been Alonso’s home/road splits, which paints a curious picture of the slugger’s season. In Monday’s defeat, the first baseman launched his 12th home run, with 11 of the 12 coming in opposing team’s parks. The contrast between is eye-opening and impossible to ignore, as he’s slashing .223/.348/.287 with a 92 wRC+ in 29 games at Citi Field while hitting .298/.354/.595 with a 156 wRC+ in 35 road games. His numbers were slightly more consistent in 2019, as he hit .218/.335/.553 with 27 home runs and a 134 wRC+ at home and slashed .297/.379/.610 with 26 homers and a 151 wRC+ on the road. The reason for the varied results could be anybody’s guess, but Alonso has made it clear how much he loves playing in front of the raucous home crowd, so it’s at least strange that it hasn’t translated on the field.

After splitting four at Citi Field last week, the Braves traveled to Ohio and split a four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds, alternating victories over the course of the weekend. Following that series, the Braves find themselves in third place in the NL East, trailing the Mets by four-and-a-half games and the Nationals by one-and-a-half games. Meanwhile, they hold a slim half-game lead over the fourth-place Phillies.

The Mets could be catching Freddie Freeman while he’s hot, which could spell bad news for their pitching staff. The forever Met Killer is slashing .327/.400/.500 with four homers and a 162 wRC+ over his last 18 games. Meanwhile, Ronald Acuña Jr. remains Atlanta’s biggest offensive threat this year, hitting .296/.391/.611 with three homers and a 167 wRC+ over his last 15 games.

Tuesday, June 29: Tylor Megill vs. Charlie Morton, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

Megill (2021): 4.1 IP, 4 K, 2 BB, 1 HR, 4.15 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.15 WHIP, 0.0 bWAR

Megill stepped in and gave the Mets a good outing in his major league debut last Wednesday. He shut out Atlanta through four innings before faltering in the fifth and surrendered a two-run homer to Ender Inciarte. He fell two outs short of earning the victory, but that should not detract from his accomplishment. In total, he allowed three hits, walked two, and struck out four in the outing, which was good enough to earn him a second go-around against the same club.

Morton (2021): 80.2 IP, 93 K, 28 BB, 7 HR, 3.68 ERA, 3.42 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 1.6 bWAR

Morton utterly outclassed the Mets in his last outing, hurling seven innings of one-hit ball while striking out a season-high 11. He walked two during the start, but otherwise his command was on point as he threw 68 of his 107 pitches (64%) for strikes. The lone hit he surrendered, if you can believe it, was an Eickhoff pinch hit infield single. That start was even better than his previous outing against the Mets in Atlanta on May 19, when he hurled six innings of one run ball. In that appearance, he didn’t walk a batter, gave up two hits, and struck out eight. He brings a 15 inning scoreless streak into this start.

Wednesday, June 30: David Peterson vs. Max Fried, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

Peterson (2021): 63.2 IP, 67 K, 28 BB, 10 HR, 4.95 ERA, 4.64 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Instead of going with Taijuan Walker in this spot, the Mets opted to get their right-hander some extra rest and stuck Peterson back in that slot on regular rest. The left-hander turned in his third straight strong outing in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against the Phillies, limiting his opponent to one earned run on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts over six innings. The lone blemish against his record was a sixth inning homer off the bat of Bryce Harper. Over his last three starts, the 25-year-old is pitching to a 1.08 ERA, a 3.87 FIP, and a 0.87 WHIP while striking out 22.6% of batters and walking 11.3% of batters in 16.2 innings. In his lone outing against Atlanta this year, Peterson gave up three earned runs on five hits in 4.2 innings as he settled for a no decision.

Fried (2021): 57.2 IP, 55 K, 20 BB, 6 HR, 4.21 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 1.34 WHIP, 1.5 bWAR

The Braves expect to have Fried back from a brief IL stint after the right-hander was dealing with a blister on his left index finger. The 27-year-old’s overall numbers aren’t quite as impressive as you’d expect from him, but a lot of that damage was done in April, where he made three starts before landing on the IL with a right hamstring strain. Since returning on May 5, Fried is pitching to a 2.51 ERA, a 3.32 FIP, and a 1.05 WHIP, with a 22.3% K% in 46.2 innings spanning eight starts. He’s allowed one earned run in six of those eight appearances and has registered a quality start in six of the eight as well. That run includes a solid start against the Mets on May 17 in Atlanta, where he struck out eight over six one-run innings, thought he was still saddled with the hard-luck loss.

Thursday, July 1: Jacob deGrom vs. Ian Anderson, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

deGrom (2021): 78.0 IP, 122 K, 11 BB, 3 HR, 0.69 ERA, 0.98 FIP, 0.53 WHIP, 4.7 bWAR

deGrom merely had a pedestrian outing, by his otherworldly standards, as he saw his 31 inning scoreless streak snapped against the Phillies, which meant he once again fell about two innings shy of matching R.A. Dickey’s club record. He did extend his perfect first inning streak to ten with another 1-2-3 opening frame, and he recorded a quality start while going six and allowing two earned runs on three hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He admitted that he never really had a feel for his changeup and started to lose his fastball and slider as the game went on, which would explain his unusually rocky sixth inning. Still, it’s just further proof that everyone has been spoiled by Jake’s greatness. His Thursday start will be his fifth road outing of the year, and he has yet to surrender an earned run away from Citi Field. He currently leads qualified NL starters in ERA, ERA+, FIP, WHIP, H/9, HR/9, and K/9.

Anderson (2021): 81.2 IP, 88 K, 29 BB, 7 HR, 3.42 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 2.5 bWAR

Anderson has been a constant in Atlanta’s rotation this year, making each of his starts as a lot of the pitchers around him have missed time. After finishing seventh in Rookie of the Year voting last season, he’s avoided a sophomore slump and put together another strong season. In his last outing, he tossed six innings against the Reds, allowing three runs on five hits with one walk and a season-high nine strikeouts, though that quality start wasn’t good enough to avoid his fourth loss of the season. In his previous outing, he stymied the Mets as he limited them to three hits over 5.1 innings to pick up a win.

Prediction: The Mets will drop two out of three in a hard-fought series in Atlanta.

Poll

How will the Mets fare in their three game series against the Braves?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    Mets sweep the Braves? Mets sweep the Braves!
    (8 votes)
  • 41%
    Two out of three (in Atlanta) ain’t bad, to paraphrase Meatloaf.
    (67 votes)
  • 34%
    The Mets win one and lose two at Truist Park.
    (55 votes)
  • 10%
    The Mets suffer a sweep at the hands of their archrivals.
    (16 votes)
  • 8%
    Pizza!
    (14 votes)
160 votes total Vote Now