New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves (8/18/22) Starting Lineup, Betting Odds, Prediction

Jacob deGrom vs Max Fried in a battle for the NL East. What could be better?

If the Braves could beat the Mets just once, that would make this battle better. They’re now just 6-9 against the Mets this season. However, Atlanta stole the first two games of this four-game set before dropping a 9-7 contest last night. So, the Braves aren’t too pathetic.

Atlanta still is 4.5 games back in the division. A win here would go a long way towards making up the needed ground to claim a first-round bye.

So, which elite pitcher will take home the win today?

Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for this Thursday’s matchup.

New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves Odds

The Mets will always be favored in a deGrom start. But I’m surprised they’re only laying about -125 here. That seems short.

However, Fried is having one of the best seasons of any NL pitcher. He’s one of the very few guys that can challenge Sandy Alcantara for the NL Cy Young.

Therefore, it’s no wonder the total is just 7. We could go for a contrarian play on the over, but the under is beginning to get steamed down.

Let’s investigate this matchup a bit more.

New York Mets Starting Lineup

CF B. Nimmo L
RF S. Marte R
SS F. Lindor S
1B P. Alonso R
DH D. Vogelbach L
2B J. McNeil L
LF M. Canha R
3B E. Escobar S
C J. McCann R

New York Mets vs Max Fried

Fried has always been a plus-starting pitcher. He’s taking things to new heights this season.

He’s gotten everything under control. He’s dropped his walk rate down under 5%, walking just around 1.5 batters per nine innings. As a result, his WHIP is just 1.08 and his FIP is just 2.45. He pairs those statistics with a 2.60 ERA and 2.86 xERA, mostly thanks to a ground-ball rate that’s over 50%.

Fried throws a rather even five-pitch mix. As he’s developed as a pitcher, he’s relied less on his four-seam and thrown more secondary stuff. His slider and curveball both have Whiff rates over 30%, and all five of his pitches have a negative Run Value.

chart 2022 08 18T095314.827

Image credit: Baseball Savant

So, how do the Mets handle southpaws? Well, they have a 105 wRC+ against lefties on the season, which is above average. However, they have a 116 wRC+ against righties, so there is a drop in production. Their ground-ball rate also rises against LHPs, which isn’t a good sign when facing Fried.

The Mets have done fine against Fried in the past, but the Braves ace has kept them at bay. He’s struck out over 25% of the batters he’s faced while allowing just 12 extra-base hits in 156 PAs. The Mets will have to string together singles to beat Fried today.

If you’re targeting any Mets hitter in this game, look no further than Pete Alonso. Alonso posted a .581 xSLG on batted balls against Fried over 32 PAs, which includes two homers and a double. He’s also struck out 10 times (31.3%).

Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup

RF R. Acuna R
SS D. Swanson R
3B A. Riley R
1B M. Olson L
C W. Contreras R
LF R. Grossman S
DH M. Ozuna R
CF M. Harris L
2B V. Grissom R

Atlanta Braves vs Jacob deGrom

deGrom is arguably the best pitcher to ever put on a uniform.

He’s still on a pitch count, where the Mets weren’t going to let him throw more than about 75 pitches. deGrom proceeds to pitch six shutout innings while allowing two hits, walking none, and striking out 10 over just 76 pitches. That’s impossible.

Through three starts, deGrom has struck out 50% of batters faced while walking just 1.8%.

deGrom does two things exceptionally well. He releases every pitch from the same point and tunnels them all very well. Batters have no clue what pitch is coming until it’s too late. Add on that he touches triple-digits with his fastball and ranks above the 95th percentile of pitchers in both fastball spin rate and breaking ball spin rate, and it’s ludicrous to think you can get a hit off him.

First, his release point of every pitch since 2018:

Screen Shot 2022 08 18 at 10.10.38 AM

Image credit: Baseball Savant

Second, is an example of deGrom tunneling his fastball and slider:

deGrom’s faced the Braves plenty of times in his career. He has a 2.01 ERA in 26 career starts against the divisional rival, striking out over 11.5 batters per nine while walking just 1.6.

It doesn’t matter how good the Braves bats are, and how hot they’ve been recent. It’s going to be a long day at the office for Atlanta.

New York Mets vs Atlanta Braves Pick & Prediction

My picks: No Runs First Inning (-142 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

These are two of the best pitchers in the game. The total is only 7. Yet, the NRFI is sitting under -150.

I am fine with betting the score will be 0-0 after one frame.

deGrom is 56-8 to the NRFI since 2019. Fried is 20-2 to the NRFI this season and 11-2 at home. Pete Alonso is just 3-for-20 during the past week, meaning the biggest threat to this NRFI – a solo home run by a power hitter – is essentially toast.

This is the closest thing to a lock you will get in baseball betting. Hammer this play.

Tanner joined Lineups to cover everything, but he has vast experience in, and unlimited passion for, Major League Baseball and NCAA Basketball. He’s a McGill University grad and former (Canadian) Division-I alpine ski racer who now spends his time drinking beer and betting home underdogs. Patrick Mahomes is a poor man’s Tom Brady.

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