New York Mets Series Preview: Atlanta Braves (7/31-8/3)

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets head down south to begin a four-game series with their division rival Atlanta Braves. They fell to 3-4 on the season after dropping two straight tough games against the Boston Red Sox. The Braves opened up the season by taking two out of three from the Mets to start the season.

Probable Pitching Matchups:

Friday (7/31) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Rick Porcello (0-1, 27.00 ERA) vs. Sean Newcomb (0-0, 2.70 ERA)

Saturday (8/1) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Michael Wacha (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. TBD

Sunday (8/2) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: David Peterson (1-0, 3.18 ERA) vs. Kyle Wright (0-1, 16.88 ERA)

Monday (8/3) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.64 ERA) vs. Mike Soroka (0-0, 1.59 ERA)

The first series between the two teams started terrific for the Mets but concluded in misery as Edwin Diaz, and Rick Porcello headlined their pitching struggles. The Braves pitching kept the Mets bats in check, holding them to only five runs in the entire series.

Fool Me Once Shame on You, Fool Me Twice Shame on Me

Rick Porcello had a very poor Mets debut, allowing seven runs in two innings in a 14-1 loss on national tv. The first game of the series is a rematch of the pitching matchup from the blowout loss, and Porcello hopes to show the Mets he is reliable as their third starter.

David Peterson also gets an opportunity to pitch against a better offense, which is built on power. They are third in home runs but lead the entire major leagues in strikeouts. The swing and miss rate is why deGrom and Matz thrived in their starts.

Mets Problems

The Mets’ biggest issue through the first week of the season is their inability to plate runners in scoring position. They lead the league in strikeouts w/RISP but are one-hit behind the Dodgers the NL hits lead. While their average is not much better than the Mets, they have only struck out eight times in these situations. Emphasis on putting the ball in play will scratch out an extra 1-2 runs per game.

Manager Luis Rojas said Edwin Diaz is “no longer the closer” in every way possible without using those words. Diaz struggled mightily in his outing against the Red Sox. The Mets have plenty of options in the bullpen, and Seth Lugo has to be at the top of the list to close games. In situations where Rojas does not want to bring Lugo in on back-to-backs, Jeurys Familia or Dellin Betances will slide into the role. Diaz will not pitch in the first game of the series, but it will be interesting to see the next situation he pitches in.

Matchups to Lookout For:

Rick Porcello vs. Freddie Freeman: 5-for-11 (.455), RBI, 3 Walks, Strikeout

Sean Newcomb vs. Amed Rosario: 5-for-12 (.412), 2 Doubles, RBI, 3 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Freddie Freeman: 15-for-55 (.273), 2 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, 6 RBI, 8 Walks, 15 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Ozzie Albies: 5-for-34 (.147), Double, RBI, Walk, 7 Strikeouts

Mike Soroka vs. Michael Conforto: 3-for-15 (.200), Walk, Strikeout