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Two NL East teams going in opposite directions face off as Braves visit Mets at Citi Field

The Braves are the best team in baseball. The Mets are not.

Atlanta Braves v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

At the start of the season, one could easily have circled this August series between the Mets (52-62) and Braves (72-41) as one which would have big playoff implications. Instead, what we have is one team that is running away with the National League East and the other one that is actively tanking. Baseball at its finest, folks.

But wait! The Mets are not totally helpless! They are in fact just coming off a series victory against the Chicago Cubs, a team that is nominally battling for a playoff spot. The Mets won two out of three thanks in large part to a terrific offensive barrage from Pete Alonso, who hit four home runs and drove in ten runs in those three games. After a prolonged stretch of helplessness, the Polar Bear seems to finally be heating up, which would go a long way towards helping the Mets avoid looking like a Triple A offense down the stretch.

Nevertheless, these three games still saw the team giving starts to the likes of Abraham Almonte and Jonathan Araúz, and those types of players will continue to have a consistent presence in the their lineup in the weeks to come. Meanwhile, the Mets have lost five out of six games they’ve played against the Braves so far this season, and all of those games came before the massive trade deadline sell-off. So expectations should probably still be low heading into this four-game set.

As for the Braves? They keep on rolling, hitting home runs at a historic pace (they currently sit at 217 on the year—the second highest amount for a team is the Dodgers at 182). Luisangel Acuña’s big brother Ronald continues to be the runaway MVP favorite as he puts up some video game numbers (26 homers, 53 stolen bases, 170 wRC+, 6.3 fWAR), which is very good if you have him in fantasy (like yours truly) and very bad if you’re watching him dominate on your favorite team’s division rival (also like yours truly). Some starting pitching injuries are the only thing that’s hampered them slightly (Max Fried has only just returned after missing a bunch of time, and Kyle Wright remains sidelined for them), but who cares? They still have the third-best staff ERA in the National League to go along with all the offensive firepower. The team is currently on-pace to win 103 games a year after winning 101, and that is no fluke. They’re good, folks. Prepare to shield your eyes a bunch the next couple of days.

Friday, August 11: Charlie Morton vs. Tylor Megill, 7:10 p.m. on SNY

Morton (2023): 123.2 IP, 132 K, 58 BB, 13 HR, 3.86 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 1.439 WHIP, 2.2 bWAR

Charlie Morton is approaching the age of forty, but you wouldn’t know it from his pitching performance, as he’s putting up yet another solid season in his third straight year with the Braves. He has gotten off to a slightly rough start to the second half, however, as he’s put up 5.40 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break and taken the loss in each of his last four starts. The Mets have also done decently well against him in the two games he’s pitched against them this year, putting up eight runs in ten innings across those two starts. In his most recent outing against the Cubs, Morton failed to make it through the fifth inning and gave up five runs while walking four and striking out four.

Megill (2023): 76.0 IP, 61 K, 39 BB, 11 HR, 5.45 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 1.684 WHIP, -0.5 bWAR

Tylor Megill made his return to the major leagues last weekend after spending more than a month and the minors, and he looked... well, pretty much exactly like he looked with the Mets previously. He surrendered nine hits, two home runs, and five runs against the Orioles, ultimately taking the loss. As has been the case for this entire season, Megill looked far too hittable for the entire night—though he did at least avoid walking anyone, something which had also been a significant issue for him this year. He will now look to rebound in his start against the Braves, which is not exactly a sentence likely to inspire much confidence on the parts of Mets fans. Megill faced off against Atlanta once earlier this year, giving up three runs in 5.2 innings in the beginning of May.

Saturday, August 12: Spencer Strider vs. José Quintana, 1:10 p.m. on SNY

Strider (2023): 132.1 IP, 211 K, 41 BB, 18 HR, 3.94 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 1.126 WHIP, 2.2 bWAR

Strider should be starting one of the two doubleheader games on Saturday, though which one is not yet clear. The 24-year-old’s ERA is a bit higher than you might expect due to a few particularly poor outings, but don’t be fooled: he is still one of the most dominant starting pitchers in the game, as evidenced by his FIP and his absurd strikeout rate. Still, the Mets have handled him pretty well when they’ve faced him this year—remember those particularly poor outings I told you about? One of them was when he gave up eight runs in four innings against the Amazins in June (of course, the Braves still somehow won the game, but let’s not worry about that part). His most recent start was another one of those particularly poor outings, as he lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up six runs to the Pirates.

Quintana (2023): 23.2 IP, 16 K, 7 BB, 0 HR, 3.42 ERA, 2.80 FIP, 1.310 WHIP, 0.5 bWAR

The Mets have yet to officially announce any of their starting pitchers for this series beyond the series opener, but Quintana is lined up to start on Saturday and it stands to reason he will pitch in one of the two doubleheader games. While the Mets have yet to win any of his four starts, the team is undoubtedly happy with what they’ve gotten from the veteran lefty so far. He’s now pitched at least six innings in each of his last three games, and he’s yet to give up more than three runs in an outing. It’s the kind of reliable production the Mets signed him for, and one can’t help but wonder how this season might have transpired if he’d never gotten hurt and took some of those starts that instead went to the likes of David Peterson and Tylor Megill. In his most recent outing, he tossed a quality start against a powerful Orioles lineup, giving up two runs in six innings while walking two and striking out six.

Saturday, August 12: TBD vs. TBD, 7:15 p.m. on Fox


I’ve seen different sites list both AJ Smith-Shawver and Mike Soroka as one of the Braves starting pitchers for Saturday’s doubleheader in addition to Strider. So maybe one of those two guys will be pitching here. Or maybe someone else altogether. Who knows!


The Mets could in theory pitch Kodai Senga in this spot due to the off day this week, but given their desire to pitch him on extra rest, they may decide to hold him until Sunday. If they do that, they could either call up a spot starter from Triple A or do a bullpen game.

Sunday, August 13: Yonny Chirinos vs. Kodai Senga, 7:10 p.m. on ESPN

Chirinos (2023): 76.1 IP, 44 K, 24 BB, 14 HR, 4.83 ERA, 5.59 FIP, 1.323 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR

Chirinos began the season with the Rays, but the Braves picked him up off waivers after Tamba Bay designated him for assignment. It has been a rough beginning to his career in Atlanta, however, as he’s put up a 8.56 ERA in his three starts for them thus far. His career numbers suggest he is capable of being a better pitcher, however, so the Braves will hope that he eventually demonstrates that in their uniform. His most recent start saw him get knocked around by the Pirates: five innings pitched, seven hits (with a whopping four home runs), six runs, two walks, five strikeouts.

Senga (2023): 116.2 IP, 142 K, 57 BB, 11 HR, 3.24 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 1.303 WHIP, 2.5 bWAR

Again, it is possible that Senga will pitch one of the Saturday games, in which case Carlos Carrasco will be lined up to pitch on Sunday instead. But for now we’ll list Senga here, and he will certainly suit up at some point in this series. He will be making his first career start against the Braves, as he’s missed them each time the Mets have faced them thus far in 2023. The team will certainly be interested to see how their new ace performs against their top division rivals. In Senga’s most recent start, he gave up two runs in six innings of work against the Cubs (he could have gone deeper into the game were it not for a rain delay) and gave the Mets their first win since the trade deadline.


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

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    The Mets stun the Braves and themselves by delivering a four-game sweep.
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    The Mets give a surprisingly strong performance and win three out of four.
    (12 votes)
  • 26%
    The Mets hold their own and split against the best team in baseball.
    (30 votes)
  • 30%
    The Mets predictably struggle and lose three of four to Braves.
    (35 votes)
  • 15%
    The Braves dominate, giving Mets a four-game sweep.
    (18 votes)
  • 12%
    (14 votes)
114 votes total Vote Now