The New York Mets will welcome in the Atlanta Braves for a three-game series over the weekend, looking to make a statement before their season ends. The Braves are set for postseason play and have the second-best record in the National League under wraps. As such, this series is basically just a postseason tune up for the NL East champions against the rivals Mets.
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- Date and Time: Friday September 27, 2019, 7:10 p.m. ET through Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 3:10 p.m. ET
- Location:Citi Field, New York, New York
- 2019 MLB Betting Odds at Betcris: (Check Back Later)
- Braves vs. Mets 2019 MLB TV Coverage: Saturday’s Game on FOX
The starters for this series are still up in the air as both teams could shake things up to end the season.
The Braves have Mike Foltynewicz, Max Fried and Dallas Keuchel in line for the starters in this series. If, however, Atlanta wants Keuchel for the NLDS series opener, they could shake things up a bit.
Regardless, none of these three starters figure to be extended too deep in this series as this is their final dress rehearsals before the postseason.
Foltynewicz has had a bit of a roller coaster season after being an All-Star and the ace of the staff last year. He’s 8-5 with a 4.46 ERA and 1.257 WHIP this MLB season. His 4.87 FIP is elevated and he only threw 113 innings do to injury and a brief demotion.
Despite early season issues, the 27-year old right-hander has thrown well down the stretch with a 6-0 record and 2.35 ERA in nine second half starts. He’s got a 1.081 WHIP in that time as well. The biggest difference has been an extreme drop in homers allowed as Folty’s done a much better job locating in the strike zone.
While Foltynewicz has turned his season around in the second half, Fried has struggled a bit down the stretch, showing some fatigue.
The 25-year old southpaw is coming off 5.1 shutout innings against the Giants, but prior to that had allowed 10 combined runs in just 7.1 innings over his previous two starts.
In total, however, Fried has had a nice season with a 17-6 record and 4.11 ERA. Even with a league leading number of wins, however, the southpaw may be the odd man out of the rotation come October.
As for the season finale, Keuchel is in line for that start. The lefty was signed midseason to help stabilize the rotation and he’s done just that. He’s 8-7 with a 3.59 ERA and 1.328 WHIP in 107.2 innings of work over 18 baseball games.
The veteran southpaw’s FIP is a bit elevated, but he’s been a reliable arm, providing a quality start in seven of his last eight appearance and with his season getting started in June, he should be well rested going into this game and into the playoffs.
On the other side of this series, the Mets have Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, and Noah Syndergaard queued up to finish the year.
Stroman was a midseason acquisition to help bolster the Mets chances at making it to October. He’s been okay in a Mets’ uniform, coming into his own of late. Overall, he’s 3-2 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 starts for New York. The 28-year old right-hander ends the year with a combined 9-13 record and 3.23 ERA between the Mets and Blue Jays.
Stroman threw 5.1 innings allowing three runs—two earned—in his first start against Atlanta after the trade and is coming off a 4.2-inning performance in his last start. Prior to that, however, he went 13.1 innings in two combined outings, allowing just one run on eight hits.
As for the other Mets’ starts in his series, its been a bit of a down year for both Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz, though both showed good health which is a step forward.
Matz enters his last game of the 2019 season with a 10-10 record and 4.37 ERA. He’s got a 4.63 FIP and 1.348 WHIP so he’s been a bit lucky. He is a bit homer prone, allowing 27 on the year in 154.1 innings, but shutdown the Braves the last time he faced them, allowing just a single run—on a solo homer—in six innings.
As for Thor, the imposing 27-year old right-hander has electric stuff but is just 10-8 with a 4.22 ERA though his FIP of 3.63 indicates some bad luck. He’s a strikeout machine but has had some issues with consistency. The team is 17-13 when he makes the start though just 1-2 in his last three after allowing four runs in each contests, failing to make it out of the sixth in any of them.
Considered a weakness in the early season, the Braves’ bullpen is coming together at the right time and will get its final tune up over the weekend.
Luke Jackson has had a nice season and is 8-2 with a 3.95 ERA and 18 saves. He was the closer for a stretch, but joins Sean Newcomb, Anthony Swarzak, Jerry Blevins, Shane Green, and Chris Martin—amongst others—in a diverse group of set up options. Add in Josh Tomlin and Atlanta has a wide cross section of different looks to through against the opposition.
In the closer’s role now is Mark Melancon who has 11 saves since being traded from San Francisco and has done well in the role. His ERA is a bit high, but it’s only been 17.2 innings. His FIP is 1.69 as he’s not allowing many walks or homers.
On the other end, the Mets’ bullpen has been their biggest Achilles Heel on the season. Acquisitions of Edwin Diaz and Jeurys Familia didn’t work. The former has 25 saves, but a 5.59 ERA while the latter has a 6.00 ERA.
Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo are good pieces, but other than them, it’s really been a crap shoot. Brad Brach has been okay since they picked him off the scrap heap from Chicago, but the pen is barren compared to Atlanta.
Jeff McNeil has had a monster season, proving that last year was no fluke. The super utility man has a .316/.384/.531 slash line with 37 doubles, 23 homers and 73 batted in.
J.D. Davis was another nice surprise for this team with 20 homers and a .884 OPS. Add in the likes of Wilson Ramos, Todd Frazier and Michael Conforto and the Mets’ offense is surprisingly deep, particularly with Pete Alonso’s monster bat anchoring the middle.
Alonso already has 50 home runs and 115 RBI with a .947 OPS and 98 runs scored.
The Mets really do have a dangerous lineup top to bottom, but so do the Braves. They don’t have a 50-home run bat, but Ronald Acuna Jr. has 41 bombs along with a101 RBI to go with 37 steals, 127 runs scored and a .280/.366/.518 slash line.
Meanwhile, along with Acuna, Freddie Freeman and Josh Donaldson are also mashers. Freeman has a .946 OPS with 38 homers and 121 RBI while Donaldson has a .896 OPS and 37 bombs. It’s hard to imagine a better threesome in the game.
On top of those three, Ozzie Albies has had a good year and Nick Markakis has been about as consistent as they come. He is back off injury now, too.
The Braves also have a good bench even with injuries to Charlie Culberson and Ender Inciarte. Billy Hamilton gives the team a huge pinch running option with good outfield defense. Francisco Cervelli has looked good in limited chances behind the dish since joining the team.
Despite sitting 10-games under-.500 at the break, the Mets will finish the season with a winning record. They’re 41-25 in the second half and continue to play well even with their chances at October slipping away.
New York is 9-5 in the team’s last 14 games. Another thing on the Mets’ side is homefield advantage. The team has a .573 winning percentage at home.
Nevertheless, this is still likely the Braves’ series to lose. Atlanta is 11-5 in the season series with the Mets, including sweeping their most recent set—a best of three—in late August.
Atlanta is having a monster season and seeing it all come together at the end. They’ve got a .636 winning percentage in the second half and are 13-7 on the month.
The Braves are also a very strong road team with a .605 winning percentage on the road.
The Braves aren’t likely to ask too much from their starters in this series, looking to keep everyone healthy and rest for October. Still, they’ve got an edge in the rotation and a much bigger one in the bullpen.
The pitching should allow the Braves to win this series on the road. Look for some more homers for the Braves’ hitters as they pad their stats a bit and ultimately walk away with the series win. The Mets should be going through the motions over the weekend as they’ll be officially eliminated by then with little to play for as they won’t even have a chance to be spoilers for Atlanta.
Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets Series Pick: Look for the Braves to back off their starters a bit, but still take this series on the road.
Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets Series Prediction: Atlanta takes two of three in their final brush up ahead of the playoffs.