An up-and-down series between two National League East rivals reaches its conclusion on Wednesday when the New York Mets take on the host Atlanta Braves. Atlanta won the opener in the series, 12-3 on Monday night, but the Mets came back with a 10-2 victory on Tuesday. The Braves are currently in first place of the division by 2.5 games over the Philadelphia Phillies, with New York in third, 7.5 games back.
A pair of lefties will be on the mound for the finale, with New York giving Steven Matz the start against Atlanta’s Max Fried. Fried has yet to face the Mets this season, while Matz earned his first win of the season against the Braves in April, going six innings and giving up two earned runs in a 6-3 victory.
The moneyline for this contest has the New York Mets +140 and the Atlanta Braves -150. The over/under is set at 9.5.
Matz has struggled to find some consistency this season, putting together a 5-4 mark with a 3.93 ERA. He is coming off a six-inning stint against St. Louis in which he only allowed three hits but gave up four runs, three of them earned, in a no-decision. Matz has 72 strikeouts on the year against 22 walks in 68 2/3 innings of work. He’ll try to follow up on Tuesday’s result, which saw the Mets allow fewer than four runs for the first time in eight games.
Pete Alonso has been great for the Mets this season, and he’s coming off the first four-hit game of his career on Tuesday, which included a home run. The first baseman is now hitting .274 with a team-high 24 home runs, 57 RBI and 46 runs scored. Second baseman Jeff McNeil also had a big game Tuesday, going 3-for-5 with a double and a home run, raising his season’s batting average to .333.
Looking To Get Back On Track
Fried comes into this contest with a 7-3 record and 4.11 ERA on the season, but June has not been good to him. He has not recorded a decision in three starts this month, posting an ERA of 7.98 and failing to reach the sixth inning in two of those starts. In his last start, against Philadelphia, he gave up five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Fried hasn’t been striking out batters — recording just 70 in 76 2/3 innings pitched this season — and he’s given up 11 home runs this season already.
With Fried’s struggles in mind, the Atlanta offense needs to step up in this one. First baseman Freddie Freeman has led the way for much of the season, pacing the Braves in batting average (.312), home runs (20), RBI (53), runs (56), and hits (90). Also doing damage has been Ronald Acuna Jr., who is hitting .297 with 17 home runs, 49 RBI and 50 runs scored. The Braves scored 27 combined runs in the two games prior to Tuesday’s loss, and they’d like to end the homestand with another big offensive outing.
Atlanta Wins Finale
The Braves are in first place because they’ve been the better team all season long. Playing at home is going to help Atlanta get back to hitting better as well. New York just hasn’t shown the consistency to take this series from the Braves. I’m taking Atlanta -150 in this one.