The Mets (58-67) took three of four games from the Cardinals over the weekend in St. Louis, but they are set to wrap up their road trip with a three-game series against the much more formidable Braves (80-43).
Much like the Padres, the Mets have been hovering in between the five teams that have an actual shot at the third Wild Card spot in the National League and the teams that are vying only for draft lottery odds. At the moment, the team isn’t incredibly likely to end up with a top-six pick in the draft or a playoff spot, but three games in Atlanta might affect their trajectory. A notoriously bad spot for the Mets to play regardless of ballpark, the team enters this three-game series having sold hard at the deadline, and they’re set to face a Braves team that has been running on all cylinders for the vast majority of the season.
Monday, August 21: David Peterson vs. TBD, 7:20 PM EDT on SNY
Peterson (2023): 72.2 IP, 79 K, 36 BB, 11 HR, 5.45 ERA, 4.71 FIP, 1.651 WHIP, 0.1 bWAR
Peterson’s massive struggles in the first half of the season put a big dent in the Mets’ playoff hopes, and you can’t help but wonder what the season might have looked like if José Quintana hadn’t experienced the medical issue that required surgery and put Peterson in his place in the rotation. Since early July, Peterson has produced better results on the mound, but a move to the bullpen and a return to the rotation during that span might be masking just how effective he’s actually been. In three starts since being reinserted in the Mets’ post-deadline rotation, Peterson has a 2.61 ERA—with a 7.14 FIP. And he’s pitched 3.0, 3.2, and 3.2 innings in those starts, respectively.
TBD: Your guess as to who starts this game for Atlanta is as good as mine.
Tuesday, August 22: Tylor Megill vs. Bryce Elder, 7:20 PM EDT on SNY
Megill (2023): 86.1 IP, 69 K, 44 BB, 12 HR, 5.53 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 1.703 WHIP, -0.6 bWAR
Much like Peterson, Megill has struggled mightily in his time in the big leagues this year. Having put up great numbers in the early parts of each of his major league seasons, Megill has unfortunately regressed to numbers that make him a fringe major league starting pitcher. Among the 139 pitchers who have thrown at least 70 innings this year, Megill ranks 126th in ERA—and Peterson ranks 121st. The average major league starting pitcher has a 4.44 ERA this year.
Elder (2023): 138.0 IP, 100 K, 45 BB, 14 HR, 3.46 ERA, 4.27 FIP, 1.210 WHIP, 2.7 bWAR
Elder earned a spot on the National League All-Star roster thanks to a very good first half that saw him enter the break with a 2.97 ERA through his first 18 starts of the year. Since then, however, he’s struggled a bit, putting up a 5.06 ERA over six starts. His last outing went very well, as he threw seven scoreless innings against the ice-cold Yankees. But the Pirates and Cubs each tagged him for five earned runs—with the Cubs tacking on two unearned runs—in his previous two starts before that. The Mets’ current lineup isn’t too intimidating, but with Pete Alonso on a tear recently, maybe they can get to Elder in this game.
Wednesday, August 23: José Quintana vs. Charlie Morton, 7:20 PM EDT on SNY
Quintana (2023): 35.2 IP, 25 K, 14 BB, 1 HR, 3.03 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 1.262 WHIP, 0.0 bWAR
Quintana has been everything the Mets could have expected since making his debut in the middle of the season. Aside from Kodai Senga, who has been excellent, Quintana is the only pitcher in the Mets’ current rotation who looks like he absolutely belongs in a major league rotation going into next season. If the Mets end up in the playoff mix next year, his presence in the rotation could go a long way toward establishing that status. And if he continues to pitch well but they aren’t in that mix, he seems like one of the team’s most obvious trade chips at the deadline next year.
Morton (2023): 134.2 IP, 146 K, 66 BB, 13 HR, 3.54 ERA, 4.00 FIP, 1.433 WHIP, 2.8 bWAR
While Morton isn’t pitching quite as well as he did during his breakout with the Astros and Rays a few years ago—garnering Cy Young votes in 2019—he has been very good. The 39-year-old had a 4.34 ERA for the Braves last year, but he’s shaved nearly a full run off of that so far despite seeing his strikeout rate dip slightly and his walk rate jump into a double-digit percentage for the first time since 2016. He’s faced the Mets twice this year, giving up four runs in 5.1 innings in a start back in May but shutting them out for five innings despite issuing seven walks in a start ten days ago—during the series that saw the Braves beat the Mets three times in four games.
Prediction: The Mets drop the Peterson and Megill games but eke out one win in the series thanks to another strong start from José Quintana.
How will the Mets fare in their three-game series against the Braves?
This poll is closed
Somehow, the Mets sweep the Braves!
The Mets take two of three in Atlanta.
The Mets get one win but drop the other two games.
The Mets suffer a miserable sweep.