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Braves carry a little momentum into huge series against Mets

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Atlanta has an opportunity to make up some ground in the NL East.

St Louis Cardinals v Atlanta Braves - Game Two Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Coming off of a series win over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Atlanta Braves will carry a bit of momentum into a big four-game series against the New York Mets, which will get underway Monday at Citi Field. The Braves are 33-36 on the season and are in third place in the NL East, five games behind the Mets. They are 4-6 over their last 10 games and are 13-16 on the road so far this season. Atlanta is 1-3 against New York on the season and have been outscored 24-11.

Despite having his nine-game hitting streak come to an end in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader, Freddie Freeman has been looking more like Freddie Freeman of late and is hitting .311/.358/.541 with four homers over his last 15 games.

The Mets will enter the series opener Monday with a 36-29 record that includes a 20-7 mark at home. They are 5-5 over their last 10 but dropped three of four over the weekend to the Washington Nationals, including the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader and a 5-2 loss on Sunday afternoon.

One of the impressive things about the Mets’ start to the season is that they have done it despite injuries to several key players, some of whom might be returning soon. Jeff McNeil could return Monday and Michael Conforto won’t be far behind. Brandon Nimmo began a rehab assignment Sunday and could be back at some point next week as well.

(As far as pitching matchups for the series go, the Braves will start Ian Anderson and Kyle Muller in Monday’s doubleheader but have not announced the order they will go in. So keep that in mind as we go through the matchups below.)

Monday, June 21, 5:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South) GAME 1

Ian Anderson (13 GS, 70.1 IP, 25.1 K%, 9.2 BB%, 3.58 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, 88 ERA-)

Ian Anderson will start one of the games Monday and will again be looking to bounce back from a rough outing. Anderson was tagged for seven hits and four runs in just four innings in his last start against the Red Sox. That marked the third time in his last four outings where he allowed four runs and failed to make it through five innings. One saving grace is that Anderson hasn’t actually pitched particularly poorly in those starts and would have been fine with some better luck on batted balls finding gloves, as he’s allowed zero homers in his last three starts and just two (both hit by the Mets in one game) over his last six outings.

Jacob deGrom (11 GS, 67.0 IP, 47.8 K%, 3.4 BB%, 0.54 ERA, 0.80 FIP, 1.43 xFIP, 14 ERA-)

After yet another injury scare, Jacob deGrom is expected to return to the mound for Mets in Monday’s doubleheader. deGrom didn’t allow a hit and struck out eight before exiting after just three innings due to a sore shoulder in his last start against the Cubs. He later said that the soreness could have been a result of a swing during an at-bat in the second inning. He completed a couple of bullpen sessions and declared himself ready to return. He has put up video game numbers so far in 2021, striking out 47.8% of the batters he has faced. The only question in regards to deGrom at the moment is whether or not his body will hold up for the remainder of the season.

Monday, June 21, TBD (Bally Sports South) GAME 2

Kyle Muller (Triple-A: 7 GS, 31.1 IP, 28.9 K%, 13.4 BB%, 4.60 ERA, 5.17 FIP, 4.78 xFIP)

Kyle Muller will make his second major league appearance and his first career start in one of the games of Monday’s doubleheader. Muller made his debut against the Red Sox in relief of Anderson and allowed four hits and two runs in an inning. He has a big arm with big questions about his control, but has the stuff to be dominant.

TBA

The Mets haven’t announced who will start the second game of Monday’s doubleheader but Jerad Eickhoff, who was promoted Sunday, is a candidate. The former Philadelphia hurler hasn’t appeared in a major league game since June 2019, with a career waylaid by injury. Eickhoff had a 3 fWAR season in 2016 and followed that up with an injury-limited 2 fWAR campaign, but hasn’t been able to stay on the field or in the bigs much since, and was getting shelled at Triple-A before his promotion.

Tuesday, June 22, 7:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Charlie Morton (14 GS, 73.2 IP, 26.2 K%, 8.3 BB%, 4.03 ERA, 3.61 FIP, 3.57 xFIP, 99 ERA-)

The Braves needed a big outing from Charlie Morton on Thursday and he delivered, allowing three hits while striking out seven over 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Morton relied heavily on his fastball and curveball in Thursday’s start and was able to keep the Cardinals hitters guessing. He faced the Mets back on May 19 and allowed just two hits, one run and struck out eight over six innings — the Braves won that game via walkoff for their only defeat of the Mets so far this year.

Marcus Stroman (15 GS, 84.2 IP, 22.2 K%, 5.6 BB%, 2.34 ERA, 3.53 FIP, 3.31 xFIP, 61 ERA-)

Marcus Stroman will make his 16th start of the season on Tuesday and has been lights out in June, posting a 2.08 ERA (3.13 FIP, 2.58 xFIP) across four starts. He allowed four hits and two runs over seven in his last outing against the Cubs. He has pitched at least six innings in eight straight starts and hasn’t had a bad outing by any measure since allowing three homers in six innings to the Rays eight starts ago.

Wednesday, June 23, 7:10 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Max Fried (11 GS, 57.2 IP, 22.2 K%, 8.1 BB%, 4.21 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 4.07 xFIP, 103 ERA-)

Max Fried will take his turn for Atlanta in the series finale Wednesday. He is coming off one of the best starts of his season, in which he allowed two hits and one run over seven innings Friday against the Cardinals. Fried has allowed three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts and has logged at least six innings in six of his last seven tries. He faced the Mets back on May 17 where he allowed five hits and one run over six innings, though the Braves still lost the game by a 3-1 score after they managed to do basically nothing in what turned out to be a bullpen-type game for the Mets.

David Peterson (10 G, 57.2 IP, 25.1 K%, 10.5 BB%, 5.31 ERA, 4.61 FIP, 3.81 xFIP, 139 ERA-)

David Peterson will get the call for the Mets in Wednesday’s series finale and is trying to hold onto his spot in the rotation. Peterson had a three-start span where he was tagged for 16 hits and 12 runs in just nine innings. Since then, he has allowed just three hits and one run in 10 2/3 innings over his past two outings. He faced Atlanta back on May 19 where he allowed five hits and three runs in 4 2/3 innings, though he had a 5/1 K/BB ratio and was mostly done in by a lot of balls in play finding grass.