The New York Mets (61-57) have been one of the hottest teams in baseball. After going 6-1 on their last homestand, the Mets have closed to within just a game of a playoff spot, but they clearly have their sights set higher. The Mets believe they have a shot at the National League East title, and in order to do that they need to start taking advantage of their remaining matchups with the Atlanta Braves (70-50), who enter the day eight games ahead of the Mets in the division standings. The two teams are set to begin a three game series tonight, with first pitch for the opener scheduled for 7:20 p.m. at SunTrust Park.
The Mets will send right hander Zack Wheeler (9-6, 4.20 ERA) to the mound today. Wheeler was dominant in his last start, tossing eight shutout innings to defeat the Miami Marlins last Tuesday. The Braves will counter with lefty Max Fried (13-4, 4.11 ERA). Fried also picked up a win in his last start, allowing three runs in 5.1 innings to top the Minnesota Twins last Wednesday.
New York Mets Lineup:
- The Mets are 4-6 against the Braves so far this season, including a 3-4 mark at SunTrust Park.
- The Braves won two out of three against the Mets at Citi Field when the teams last met at the end of June.
- Wheeler is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts against the Braves this season.
- Fried is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Mets this year.
- With a lefty on the mound the Mets will sit Joe Panik. Jeff McNeil will slide into second base and bat leadoff while Juan Lagares starts in center field and bats eighth.
- Drew Gagnon has been recalled from AAA Syracuse to add a fresh arm to the Mets’ bullpen. Chris Mazza was optioned to the minors to make room for Gagnon on the active roster.
- Freddie Freeman (12 for 24, 3 2B, 2 HR, 6 RBI), Nick Markakis (4 for 10, 3 RBI), Ronald Acuna Jr (3 for 9, 2B, HR, 2 RBI) and Brian McCann (5 for 9, HR, 2 RBI) have had good success against Wheeler in the past.
- McNeil (4 for 8, 2 2B) and J.D. Davis (4 for 6, RBI) have done well against Fried in small sample sizes.