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The Atlanta Braves (17-9) and the New York Mets (15-11) have been among the top four successful teams in the NL this season. They have both been a solid force at the batting plate, the fielding team, and the pitching mound.
The top two teams in the NL East Division will start their four-game series on Friday, April 28th, but the bulk of the action and the display will be on Saturday and Sunday. This series and this weekend will be a great chance for either team to take control of the division and create solid momentum for the rest of the season to end the month of April on a high note.
Atlanta started the season so well by winning six of their first seven first games of the 2023 season. The Braves were stout in all phases of the game in series against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, and the Kansas City Royals. They did not play up to par in the home games series versus the San Diego Padres and the Houston Astros.
The Braves have one of the most talented rosters in the MLB as their batting continues to be a big reason for their season despite losing key players in free agency like Freddie Freeman and Dansby Swanson. Atlanta enters Friday’s series against the Mets ranking second in the NL in runs accounted for (134), fourth in hits accounted (226), second in home runs (40), fourth in walks (101), sixth in batting average (.255) and third in on-base percentage (.336).
Rightfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. and second baseman Ozzie Albies, the two young stars for the Braves continue to play at a high level. Acuna is currently a big favorite to win NL MVP according to many sportsbooks like FanDuel because of his reliability at the plate. In 26 games this season, Acuna has accumulated a team-high 22 runs, a team-high 37 hits, a team-high nine double-base hits, four home runs, a team-high 13 stolen bases, only 17 strikeouts, a team-high batting average of .352 and a team-high on-base percentage of .443. In 26 games this season, Albies has accounted for 26 hits, a team-high 23 RBIs, only 17 strikeouts, a batting average of .257 and an on-base percentage.
The Braves have seen tremendous results from their deep and talented bullpen as they possess the number one pitching in the NL going into Friday. Spencer Strider, Charlie Morton, Bryce Elder, and Max Fried are all starting pitchers for Atlanta have an ERA below 2.80. As a team, the Braves enter Friday ranked first in the NL in ERA (3.44), sixth in hits allowed (208), third in runs allowed (95) and first in strikeouts (244).
The Mets have a talented roster of some of the league’s most underrated stars and impact players. The efficiency and power-hitting of the Mets are not up to the same level as the Braves, but they are a team that can get on base. The Mets enter Friday ranked fifth in the NL in runs accounted for (122), eighth in hits accounted for (210), 10th in home runs accounted for (27), only fourth in strikeouts (200), 11th in batting average (.242) and fourth in on-base percentage (.334).
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso has played great in the month of April. Alonso has accounted for a team-high 20 runs, 26 hits, a team-high 10 home runs, a team-high 25 RBIs, a batting average of .252, and an on-base percentage of .325.
The pitching for the Mets has been steady throughout the season as the bullpen has been good, but not great. The Mets enter Friday ranked seventh in the NL in ERA (4.30), fifth in hits allowed (205), sixth in runs allowed (110), and eighth in strikeouts accounted for (224). The biggest concern for the Mets’ pitching is allowing walks of 106 (14th most in the NL) and 37 home runs allowed (most in the NL). The Mets have been thrilled with the early impact of rookie starting pitcher Kodai Senga, who has a season ERA of 4.15.
The over/under is at 7.5 runs, which suggests that this series between the Braves and Mets could be low. There are several indications that it could be more just from the batting impact of the Braves. This series will look to get the best from Acuna, Albies, and first baseman Matt Olson, who is in his first year with the Braves after spending his first six seasons in the majors with the Oakland Athletics. Olson has accounted for a team-high 23 RBIs for the Braves this season.
The Mets will need to have their best pitching performances in this series versus the Braves as Atlanta can create solid hits and easily shift the momentum their way at the plate. The Mets are also not as a reliable pitching team as the Braves, who are loaded, outside of Kodai Senga, who is projected to start in this series in Monday’s game.
There is some favor for the Mets’ bullpen as the Braves have encountered 248 strikeouts this season, which is the 13th most in the NL. If the Mets are able to control the Braves’ efficient hitting, they have a chance to take one or two games into this series.
In Saturday’s game, the Braves will be starting Spencer Strider (1.80 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 30 innings) while the Mets will be starting Tylor Megill (3.96 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 25 innings). On Sunday, the Braves are projected to start Charlie Morton (2.76 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 29.1 innings) while the Mets will be starting Jose Butto (2.79 ERA and three strikeouts in 9.2 innings). The Braves will have the pitching edge going into the weekend.
New York Mets
Ronald Acuna Jr. (.352)
Brandon Nimmo (.341)
Ozzie Albies & Matt Olson (7)
Pete Alonso (10)
Ozzie Albies (23)
Pete Alonso (25)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (.443)
Brandon Nimmo (.446)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (37)
Brandon Nimmo (31)
Spencer Strider & Carlie Morton (3)
Kodai Senga & Tylor Megill (3)
Max Fried (0.60) in 15 innings pitched
David Robertson (0.79) in 11.1 innings pitched
Spencer Strider (49)
Kodai Senga (32)
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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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