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Mets limp into Atlanta for showdown with East-leading Braves

This is not the way the Mets wanted to enter this series.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets - Game One Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Mets (30-30) will do their best to shake off the weekend sweep and get back on their feet as they face the first-place Braves (35-24). These two teams played earlier in the season at Citi Field, with the Braves taking two of three. This will be the last time these two sides face off until August. It’s worth mentioning that the last time these two squared off at Truist Park, Atlanta effectively ended the Mets’ dreams of an NL East title by sweeping New York, who had their three best pitchers lined up for the series.

The Mets are coming off a poor showing over the weekend, as they were swept by the Blue Jays and fell back to .500. Things got off to an inauspicious start with a 90-minute rain delay on Friday, and the Mets’ bats forgot to show up once the delay ended. The result was a 3-0 shutout, as Old Friend Chris Bassitt torched his former club over 7 23 scoreless frames. Justin Verlander gave up a homer to George Springer on the second pitch he threw and, despite rebounding for a solid six-inning effort, the offense could not help him out.

The Mets honored Howard Johnson, Al Leiter, Gary Cohen, and Howie Rose by inducting them into the Mets Hall of Fame on Saturday, and then embarrassed themselves in another offensive no-show, resulting in a 2-1 loss. The Mets actually jumped ahead on a Daniel Vogelbach double to score Starling Marte in the second, but that was the end of the scoring for New York. Toronto tied it in the sixth, and went ahead in the ninth off David Robertson. Buck Showalter inexplicably did not have Robertson walk Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to get to the weak-hitting Cavan Biggio, who entered as a pinch runner for cleanup hitter Brandon Belt. The decision back-fired in spectacular fashion, as Vladito roped a double down the left-field line.

Toronto completed the sweep with a 6-4 win on Sunday. Kodai Senga, pitching on five day’s rest for the first time, was not sharp, as he allowed four runs (three earned) and walked five over 2 23 innings. The bats came alive, at least somewhat, as they hit four solo homers, including two from Tommy Pham, one from Pete Alonso, and one from Starling Marte, which knotted the game up at four in the sixth. Alonso’s blast also gave him the record for most home runs in Citi Field history, a mark previously held by Lucas Duda. The Blue Jays jumped right back in front in the seventh, as Belt launched a two-run shot to center off Dominic Leone. The offense, sadly, had no response.

The Mets had an abysmal offensive showing against Toronto, save for the four solo homers they hit on Sunday. In total, they went 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position and left 17 on base. They easily could’ve won at least one, if not two, of these games had they slightly improved those numbers. Overall, the homestand wasn’t great, and had Mark Canha not decimated the Phillies, they might’ve escaped with fewer than their three wins.

Francisco Álvarez struggled big-time in the homestand, as he went hitless in his 14 plate appearances and finished with a -100 wRC+ and a -0.3 fWAR. Home run aside, Alonso also had a bad time, slashing .130/.167/.261 with a 17 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR in the six games. Nimmo, who got a much-needed day off on Sunday, hit .150/.190/.150 with a -1 wRC+ and a -0.2 fWAR in five games. Lindor, who heard plenty of boos in the past three games from the Flushing Faithful, posted a .091/.167/.227 slash line with one home run, a 12 wRC+, and a -0.1 fWAR in six games. Only Canha (238), Marte (145), and Vogelbach (69) posted wRC+ above 40 on the homestand.

The Braves are coming off a series in which they took two of three to the Diamondbacks. The two teams split the first two games, and Atlanta trailed 5-4 heading into the ninth on Sunday before Eddie Rosario hit a go-ahead Grand Slam to guide Atlanta to the series win. Prior to that, the Braves lost two of three to the Athletics.

Since May 1, Sean Murphy has arguably been Atlanta’s best player. The catcher, who raked against the Mets earlier this year, is hitting .316/.393/.516 with five homers, a team-high 22 runs batted in, a 148 wRC+, and a team-best 1.4 fWAR in 26 games. Ronald Acuña Jr., who has inserted himself squarely into the NL MVP race, is slashing .313/.378/.578 since May 1, with eight homers, a team-high 29 runs scored and 13 stolen bases, a 154 wRC+, and a 1.4 fWAR in 32 games. Austin Riley continues to search for answers, as he has posted a .269/.312/.454 slash line since May 1, with five homers, a 102 wRC+, and a 0.4 fWAR in 32 games.

Tuesday, June 6: Carlos Carrasco vs. Bryce Elder, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

Carrasco (2023): 31.1 IP, 19 K, 13 BB, 6 HR, 5.74 ERA, 6.10 FIP, 1.37 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR

Carrasco’s overall numbers are still ugly, but he’s put together two really nice starts ina row to build upon. In those outings, he’s allowed two earned runs on 11 hits over 12 23 innings. This includes a stellar start against the Phillies in which he earned the victory with six innings of one-run ball to outduel Aaron Nola. Historically, Carrasco has been a summer pitcher, and he is entering his prime months. Over his career, he owns a 4.03 ERA in June, a 3.54 ERA in July, and a 3.60 ERA in August (compared to a 4.57 ERA in April and a 4.15 ERA in May).

Elder (2023): 65.2 IP, 56 K, 19 BB, 4 HR, 1.92 ERA, 3.43 FIP, 1.16 WHIP, 2.6 bWAR

Elder threw 54 innings in 2022, so he missed being classified as a rookie this year by four innings. Had he not hit 50 innings, he would be running away with the NL Rookie of the Year race right now. Although, at his current pace, he should be nicely positioned in the NL Cy Young race. Elder leads all NL starters in ERA one-third of the way into the season, and he has given Atlanta’s rotation a big boost as they wait for Kyle Wright and Max Fried to return. He has allowed one run or fewer in seven of his 11 starts this season, including his most recent effort, in which he allowed one earned run on five hits over 7 13 innings against the Athletics. He faced the Mets once last year in his lone relief outing at the major league level, and he allowed three earned runs on five hits over 2 13 innings.

Wednesday, June 7: Max Scherzer vs. Charlie Morton, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

Scherzer (2023): 47.2 IP, 48 K, 14 BB, 7 HR, 3.21 ERA, 4.13 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, 1.0 bWAR

Scherzer has really started to look like himself over his past four starts, in which he’s pitching to a 1.08 ERA, a 2.17 FIP, and a 0.80 WHIP in 25 innings. In that stretch, he’s striking out almost 30% of the batters he’s faced while walking just 4.3%. That run continued against the Phillies as he earned the win after allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits with nine strikeouts over a seven innings pitched. It marked the second straight start in which he lasted seven innings. He will now return to the scene of one of his most disheartening losses of the 2022 season, and will look to flip the script.

Morton (2023): 64.2 IP, 72 K, 26 BB, 6 HR, 3.62 ERA, 3.57 FIP, 1.44 WHIP, 1.2 bWAR

There’s no stopping Morton who, in his 16th major league season, continues to post solid numbers. He is coming off his second seven-inning outing of the year, albeit one that resulted in a loss. He went seven and allowed three earned runs on six hits, with nine strikeouts and two walks. He’s picked up the loss in his last three starts, though his last two were far from bad. He lost to the Mets earlier this year after allowing four earned runs on six hits over 5 13 innings.

Thursday, June 8: Justin Verlander vs. Spencer Strider, 7:20 p.m. on SNY

Verlander (2023): 36.0 IP, 30 K, 9 BB, 6 HR, 4.25 ERA, 4.54 FIP, 1.14 WHIP, 0.4 bWAR

The second pitch Verlander threw in his last start left the yard, as Springer connected for a leadoff homer. Verlander would go on to throw 115 more after that to finish up a six-inning effort in which he danced around danger all night and ended up allowing just the one run. The 117 pitches were the most he’s thrown in a game since he threw 120 pitches back on September 1, 2019. He struck out eight and walked three, both of which represented season highs for the right-hander, who was a hard-luck loser thanks to his offense’s inability to score any runs.

Strider (2023): 69.2 IP, 113 K, 26 BB, 7 HR, 2.97 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 1.01 WHIP, 1.8 bWAR

Strider enters this series as MLB’s strikeout leader. He also owns the best H/9 (5.4) and K/9 (14.6) in the NL. His last two starts were nearly identical, and both ended up as wins. In his most recent outing, he went six and allowed two earned runs on three hits, with seven strikeouts and four walks against the Diamondbacks. Prior to that, he went six and allowed two earned runs on two hits, with nine strikeouts and one walk against the Phillies. The Mets put up four runs in five innings against Strider earlier this year, but still lost. Strider could find himself competing for the NL Cy Young award with teammate Elder if he keeps this up.

Prediction: The Mets drop two of three to the Braves.


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

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    The Mets bounce back with a momentous sweep of their rivals!
    (13 votes)
  • 21%
    The Mets dust themselves off and take two of three.
    (41 votes)
  • 27%
    The Mets drop two of three to Atlanta, as they did earlier this year.
    (52 votes)
  • 34%
    The Mets suffer a second straight sweep.
    (66 votes)
  • 10%
    (20 votes)
192 votes total Vote Now