The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves will battle in the middle game of a three-game series on Wednesday. The Braves took the opener 5-3, behind another strong outing from Max Fried, who is now 14-4 on the season. Ronald Acuna Jr. hit his 34th homer of the season. The bigger story in the loss for the Mets was Jeff McNeil leaving the game with a hamstring injury. McNeil, who was competing for the batting title, will be re-evaluated over the next couple of days.
The Mets will send Steven Matz (7-7, 4.49 ERA) to the mound against Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.83 ERA). Keuchel will be looking to rebound from his worst outing of the season. The Marlins roughed him up for eight runs on 10 hits in only 3 2/3 innings. This was Keuchel’s third straight loss. Matz has been a little better of late. Over his last four starts, his ERA is 3.20, and his record is 2-1.
The Braves are the favorite at -135 and the over/under is 10.
Mets Look to Stay in Wild Card Chase
The Mets, who are 61-58 and 27-37 on the road, will need to find someone to pick up the production to replace McNeil. Hamstrings are never a quick recovery, and if the Mets want to keep this miraculous run going, they will need someone to step up in McNeil’s absence. New York will be hoping for Todd Frazier, who has a .648 OPS since the break, to find his swing.
Matz hopes to continue his success against Atlanta. He has more wins against them than any other club. He is 5-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 10 career starts. Unfortunately for Matz, this season the Braves have had his number. This will be his fourth start against them this year, and he is 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in his previous outings.
This will be Keuchel’s first start ever against the Mets. The only Mets hitter to face Keuchel is Wilson Ramos, who is 0 for 2 with a walk. The Mets offense is led by Pete Alonso’s 38 home runs and McNeil’s .332 average. The Mets have been really good against lefties this year with a team OPS of .807.
New York has Jacob Rhame and Dominic Smith on the IL, and McNeil is listed as day-to-day.
Braves Trying To Put Away the East
The Braves are 71-50 and 33-25 at home. They have opened up a six-game lead in the NL East and are looking to pull away from the field. Atlanta has won three of its last four and five of its last seven.
Keuchel has been just okay since they signed him in June. His ERA is a full point higher than his career average, and his WHIP is 1.33, compared to his career average of 1.26. He has never faced the Mets in his career.
Atlanta’s offense will be looking to have another big day against Matz. They have hit the lefty well in the past. They have a team OPS of .900 in 79 at-bats. Acuna Jr. is 3 for 6 with a triple for an OPS of 1.405 in the small sample. Adam Duvall, Johan Camargo, Josh Donaldson, Charlie Culberson, and Matt Joyce all have OPS’s above 1.000, and Freddie Freeman is at .920 with a homer. The Braves have a .813 OPS against lefties on the season.
Atlanta has Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley on the 10-day IL.
This looks to be a high-scoring affair. Neither pitcher has been very good, and both teams have hit really well against left-handed pitching on the year. I think the Braves just have the better lineup, especially with the absence of McNeil. I like the over 10.5 as well, given both teams’ success against lefties. Give me the Braves at -135.