In the rubber game of a road series at Citi Field, the Braves will look to do something they've only done once before in 2016: win a series. After last night's beauty where Matt Wisler bested Matt Harvey and the Mets, the surprisingly effective Jhoulys Chacin will take the hill in an attempt to keep the opposition's offense suppressed. The Mets, meanwhile, haven't lost two in a row since the season's second week (April 10-12), which is pretty good and kind of the opposite of what Braves fans have already endured.
So far, Chacin has kept opposing hitters at bay, allowing three runs at most in his four starts this season. However, he hasn't pitched into the seventh inning in any start, though that concern should be ameliorated as the bullpen should be well-rested after last night, where only Arodys Vizcaino pitched.
Steven Matz, meanwhile, has been a tough customer since his season debut: he's allowed just two runs in three starts since being blown up for seven runs and not completing the second inning in his first outing. The two runs he has given up since then, however, actually came against the Braves: he allowed nine hits in six and one-third innings against them a couple of weeks ago, but still cruised to a win after the Mets scored five runs behind him. Matz struck out eight batters in that game.
By the way, Jhoulys Chacin was also the starter in that contest and gave up four runs (three earned) in five and two-thirds innings on seven hits and two walks.
Matz also faced the Braves once last season, which featured a win after he allowed one run in five and one-third innings. That one run was Daniel Castro's first major league homer; Castro has only homered once since then. Castro might draw a start against Matz as he's 4-for-6 off of Matz (yay meaningless small sample size batter vs. pitcher stats); Freddie Freeman is 3-for-5 with a double off of him as well.
Hail of bullets:
- The Mets have outhomered the Braves 36-6 this season. Yes, that is a six times factor. Yoenis Cespedes and Neil Walker (?!) both have more homers than the entire Braves team.
- Three Mets also have more triples than the entire Braves team, because the Braves are one of two teams that have yet to hit a triple this year. Weirdly, the other team in that basket is the Orioles, who lead their division, and have one of the better records in baseball (15-10).
- Freddie Freeman's wRC+ is up to 107 after he was mired in the unspeakable (Erick Aybar) range for much of April. He's still hitting too many balls in the air without the usual strength we expect from him, but he's steadily increased his line drive rate after his slump. Since April 23, his line is a more exaggerated Freddie Freeman special: 195 wRC+, 29% LD%, and a .481 BABIP with five doubles and 2 homers. (Six of those seven extra-base hits have come in his last six games.) Hilariously, he's only scored three times and driven in three (two of which were himself) in that entire span (10 games).
- Mallex Smith's wRC+ is now up to a respectable-ish 88, but while he's yet to walk on this current road trip, he's putting up a silly 295 wRC+ courtesy of eight hits in 15 PAs (.538 BABIP, though half of those hits have gone for extra bases). Please hit a triple, Mallex.