All eyes are on the Mets and Braves this weekend as they open up a massive three-game series at Truist Park in Atlanta. Aces will be on the mound for the series opener on Friday, as Jacob deGrom faces Max Fried in a battle of two of the NL’s best pitchers. Who will come out on top of the NL East?
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Friday night’s matchup.
New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves Betting Odds
The Mets are slight favorites at -120 on the moneyline, with the over/under set at 6.5 runs.
The over/under is one of the lowest you’ll see in a regular season game, thanks to these two pitchers. Since it’s so low, I don’t hate going with the over in the event these two teams luck into a few runs – especially considering Fried hasn’t been perfect against the Mets and deGrom probably won’t last more than six innings.
New York Mets Starting Lineup
CF B. Nimmo L
LF M. Canha R
SS F. Lindor S
1B P. Alonso R
DH M. Vientos R
2B J. McNeil L
3B E. Escobar S
RF D. Ruf R
C T. Nido R
New York Mets vs. Max Fried
Max Fried knows how to pitch in high-pressure situations. He performed when it mattered most in the World Series, and with the Braves down one game in the NL East, he’ll need to perform under the spotlight again Friday.
Fried has a chance to be a Cy Young finalist this season. He has a 2.50 ERA and 2.73 FIP through 29 starts (180.1 IP), carrying a 1.02 WHIP and 167 strikeouts into his 30th start of the year. Fried has a very low home run rate (0.6 per nine) and low walk rate (1.6 per nine).
The Mets haven’t had huge success against Fried this season, though he hasn’t been totally dominant. Fried has allowed 2 earned runs in each of his four starts against the Mets so far this year. The Braves went 2-2 in those games. New York hits slightly worse against left-handers, which is worth keeping in mind.
The Mets have a .780 OPS in September, higher than any other month. The surprise catalyst has been Eduardo Escobar, who has turned a disappointing season into a memorable stretch that might give the Mets a division title. This has been a high-contact Mets lineup lately, with 13 hits from Francisco Lindor in his last eight games and 11 more from Jeff McNeil over that same stretch.
Pete Alonso hasn’t hit for much contact – he struck out four times on Wednesday – but he’s blasted five home runs since the start of last week. It’s important that someone other than Alonso finds their power stroke in this one. With Fried on the mound, the Mets can’t just rely on Escobar to bail them out like he has so often this month.
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
RF R Acuna R
SS D. Swanson R
CF M. Harris L
3B A. Riley R
1B M. Olson L
C T. d’Arnaud R
DH W. Contreras R
LF E. Rosario L
2B O. Arcia R
Atlanta Braves vs. Jacob deGrom
The Mets moved Jacob deGrom up in the rotation to make this start, putting full faith in one of their two aces even as he works his way back from an injury that cost him four months. deGrom has a 2.93 ERA through 10 starts this season.
While he’s had some rough patches lately, including an ugly outing against the A’s, deGrom’s ERA has often been inflated by relievers allowing inherited runners to score. His underlying numbers are much better. deGrom has a 1.75 FIP and sparkling 0.74 WHIP over 58.1 innings.
At this point, it would take serious luck for deGrom to last beyond six innings. With his injury history, the Mets just won’t let him go there yet, and that’s something to keep in mind with a dangerous Braves lineup on the other side here. When deGrom is in the game, he’s tough to hit and his swing-and-miss rate is sky high.
It’s worth noting he’s given up a home run in each of his last three outings. With the Braves easily atop the NL in home runs, odds are someone will go deep. Atlanta has seven players with 18+ home runs, and 10 Braves have homered in the team’s last 10 games. The most dangerous aspect of this Braves team is how many options they have.
When deGrom faced the Braves for the first time this season, he gave up only one hit – a 2-run home run. That’s the danger against a team like this, but it’s also a testament to how dominant deGrom was otherwise. It’s worth noting Austin Riley had two hits against deGrom when they faced off the second time – he’s a middle of the order threat to watch.
New York Mets vs. Atlanta Braves Picks & Prediction
My pick: Mets -1.5 (+160)
Jacob deGrom seems due for a dominant outing after hitting a bump in Oakland. The Mets already won three games in Atlanta this season and have put a couple runs on the board against Max Fried each time they’ve faced him.
New York showed in its comeback win on Wednesday that it has a sense of urgency with October approaching. Between deGrom’s arm and a deep lineup, I’ll take the Mets to assert themselves atop the NL East. Mets -120 is the safer play, but Mets -1.5 has much more value at +160.