New York Mets Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (5/1-5/3)

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After a 4-5 road trip, the New York Mets return back to Citi Field to welcome in the young Atlanta Braves. The Mets lost two out of three games in Atlanta during their nine game road trip. The Braves have been playing terrific baseball to start the season and have put themselves within 1.5 games of the first place Mets. For the first time in years, the Mets and Braves are playing an important series which is reminiscent of their classic battles in the 2000s.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(5/1, 7:10 PM) Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.23) vs. Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 2.86)

(5/2, 7:10 PM) Julio Teheran (1-1, 4.50) vs. Jacob deGrom (3-0, 2.06)

(5/3, 1:10 PM) Mike Foltynewicz (2-1, 2.53) vs. Jason Vargas (0-1, 12.09)

Mets Led by Thor and deGrom

Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have carried the Mets rotation throughout the first month this season. The Mets have been able to work around the sub-par starts for Vargas, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, but this team will need more consistency to be successful. Jason Vargas hopes to be the stabilizer in the rotation and hopefully his horrible start in San Diego was just a hiccup in Vargas returning to form. Zack Wheeler has started to get in a groove and Vargas would be a key fourth starter the Mets can rely on.

The Mets will likely be without slugger Yoenis Cespedes for the whole series. He injured his thumb sliding head first into third base during Sunday’s game against the San Diego Padres. Cespedes said he suffered the same injury a couple of years ago and only missed three days. Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares will share time in the outfield during the series. Outside of the power numbers these two will not be a drop off in production. They are both great defenders and have combined to hit .329 and put up .442 on base percentage this season.

Young, but Talented Braves

The Mets will get their first look at young upstart, Ronald Acuna. He has started his career hot out of the gate with four doubles and a home run in just 19 at bats along with three singles. Acuna is not the only guy hitting well for the Braves this season. Freddie Freeman, Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis are all hitting over .300 through the first month of the season. Ozzie Albies has been flexing his muscle with nine home runs and 20 RBIs which leads the Braves.

The Braves pitching has also lead them to their strong April. Folty and Brandon McCarthy both hold ERAs below 3.25 and McCarthy leads the team with four of their wins. The bullpen has been lead by Arodys Vizcaino, Shane Carle and Dan Winkler, who all have ERAs under 1.50. The team has 16 wins but only has four saves, three by Vizcaino.

Matchups to Lookout For

Freddie Freeman vs. Noah Syndergaard 5-12 (.417)

Jose Lobaton vs. Julio Teheran 7-23 (.304)

Nick Markakis vs. Jason Vargas 5-28 (.179)

Juan Lagares vs. Julio Teheran 4-21 (.191)

Interesting Stats

Freddie Freeman vs. Mets 147-533 (.309) 20 HR 86 RBI

Jacob deGrom vs. Braves 5-3 1.99 ERA 77 IP 84 K