Braves vs Mets

Braves vs Mets Serie Preview MLB | Unusual Start Time For Opener Of Doubleheader

The first MLB game on a somewhat light schedule on Monday features an unusual first pitch of 5:10 p.m. ET as the Atlanta Braves visit the NL East rival New York Mets, who are solid favorites on the MLB odds behind pitcher Marcus Stroman. It’s Game 1 of a doubleheader and thus scheduled for seven innings.

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Why Bet on Atlanta?

The Braves split four games over the weekend in Philadelphia, losing the finale 2-1 on Sunday as Phils starter Aaron Nola dominated. Nola had struggled since June 1 with a 6.10 ERA in his last eight starts before this one. Austin Riley had three of the four Atlanta hits with a homer and two doubles.

The Braves have not won back-to-back games since July 9-10 against the Marlins. They have alternated wins and losses in each of their nine games since the All-Star break.

This game starts a five-game series between the Braves and Mets, who lead the NL East. They could all but finish Atlanta with a sweep.

“These guys are grinding through a rough stretch,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “We had four days off (at the All-Star break) and we came out of the gate and played a three-and-a-half, four-hour game that wore them right back to where they were before they went on vacation. That’s something we’ll have to fight our way through. We have to win these games. This is a big series. It’s five games against the team we’re chasing. We can rest in the winter. We have to get after it right now.”

It’s lefty Kyle Muller (1-3) on the mound here. Muller tossed four innings of one-run ball in a loss last Wednesday against the Padres. Muller issued three walks against his three strikeouts but he only gave up two hits. Largely due to the trio of walks and the Padres working a lot of deep counts, Muller required 87 pitches to get through four frames.

Through his first five major league outings, he has a 3.20 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and 23 strikeouts in 19 2/3 frames. Muller pitched at the Mets on June 21 in his first MLB start. He held the Mets to one run over four innings. That run scored without the benefit of a hit, as Jonathan Villar led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk and eventually came around to score on a wild pitch. Muller threw only 56 pitches over his four innings, but the Braves had a scoring opportunity against Jacob deGrom in the top of the fifth inning, so they pinch-hit for their starter.

Why Bet on New York?

The Mets won two of three over the weekend vs. Toronto, taking the finale 5-4 on Sunday. It was New York’s 16th series victory of the season and their 10th at home. The Mets have been in first place since Saturday, May 8, a streak of 79 days. It’s their longest run atop the East in the last 14 seasons.

Two regulars didn’t start in catcher James McCann and second baseman Jeff McNeil. It was just a breather for McCann, while McNeil was withheld from the starting lineup for the third straight game while he contends with left leg muscle fatigue. However, McNeil did pinch-it and broke a tie with a two-run double in the win over the Jays.  McNeil is on a 12-game hitting streak, a career-high. He has safely reached base in each of his last 13 games.

“The performance [staff] is being extra cautious with him, just because this takes him back to a similar spot to where he was when he got hurt [at Tampa Bay],” manager Luis Rojas said of why McNeil hasn’t been starting. “They are being extremely cautious with him.” Rojas was referring to the five weeks McNeil missed with a hamstring strain earlier this season.

Pete Alonso hit three homers in the series vs. Toronto and has five home runs since the All-Star break, when he repeated as Home Run Derby champion.

It’s Marcus Stroman (7-8) on the mound here. He allowed just one hit over eight scoreless innings in the Mets’ 7-0 win over the Reds last Wednesday. Stroman hit Jonathan India with a pitch to lead off the bottom of the first inning before quickly erasing him on a double play. He would then face only two over the minimum the rest of the way, giving up a leadoff since to Aristides Aquino in the third and a two-out walk to Joey Votto in the seventh. He hadn’t gone more than five innings in any of his previous five outings. The seven strikeouts were one shy of a season high. Stroman lowered his ERA to 2.59 in the process, which is the lowest mark he’s had in any 20-start stretch in his career.

Stroman is set for free agency after this season. He opted out of the 2020 season because of the COVID pandemic.

“He’s been tremendous,” Mets left-fielder Dom Smith said. “He’s a bulldog and a competitor and, even when he doesn’t have his best stuff, he goes out there every five days and he competes. (He’s) been one of the reasons why we’re in first place.”

Stroman has thrown one scoreless inning vs. Atlanta this year. He exited in the second back on June 22 with a sore left hip.

Game Trends

  • Braves are 5-2 in their last 7 road games.
  • Braves are 8-3 in their last 11 vs. National League East.
  • Mets are 5-2 in their last 7 Monday games.
  • Mets are 23-11 in their last 34 home games.
  • Mets are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a left-handed starter.

Expert Prediction

  • Mets 4, Braves 2

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