The Braves enter the rubber match of their series with the Mets just 4.5 games back of the division leader, but will be faced with the tallest of tasks on Thursday: beating Jacob deGrom.
For all the hype and fanfare around deGrom, the right-hander is somehow better than all of it might suggest. He is currently in the midst of possibly the greatest season ever for a pitcher, entering play with a 7-2 record, 0.69 ERA, and 122 strikeouts in just 77 innings. His WHIP currently sits at just 0.53 and he owns a 4.7 bWAR. All of this evidence suggests that deGrom could, in actuality, post the greatest single season performance of all-time, health permitting. You might chalk some of these miniscule numbers up to luck, though, as he currently has a 0.99 FIP. How is that even possible?
Alright, enough about deGrom. The Braves will counter with an uber-talented right-hander of their own, as Ian Anderson draws the assignment for Atlanta. He enters play with a 5-4 record, 3.42 ERA, and 88 strikeouts in 81.2 innings. His 1.17 WHIP and 2.5 bWAR are also impressive, and the 22-year-old has cemented himself firmly in the Rookie of the Year conversation in the National League.
The Braves are hoping to carry over some of the offense that was on display Wednesday night, though deGrom figures to be a much tougher assignment. Historically he has fared very well versus Atlanta, with a 9-7 record and 1.88 ERA in 24 starts. Anderson has been less dominant when facing the Mets, owning a 1-2 record and 4.50 ERA in three starts.
Seeing the Mets leave town with just a 3.5 game lead would be satisfying for Atlanta, especially if they are able to solve the riddle that is Jacob deGrom. New York typically struggles to back their ace with any run support, so hopefully the Braves can take advantage and tighten up the division race while pulling a game closer to .500.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, July 1, 7:20 p.m. ET
Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Bally Sports South
Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM The Fan, WNNX 100.5, Braves Radio Network