Everything has gone according to plan for the New York Mets (16-7) so far this season. The Mets secured their seventh consecutive series victory to start the year last night, making them the only team in the league to accomplish that feat to this point. All of those wins have helped the Mets build a solid lead in the National League East that will get put to the test as they welcome the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves (10-13) to town for their first meeting of the season. First pitch for the opener of this critical four-game series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. at Citi Field.
2021 was a fascinating season for the Braves, who struggled early on and fell behind the Mets in the division rather quickly. Losing Ronald Acuna Jr. for the season added another obstacle for Atlanta, who came to New York in late July and won three out of five against a slumping Mets team to inspire a buying spree that saw the team add a slew of big league outfielders and relievers to their roster. The moves worked as Atlanta charged past the Mets to win the National League East with a record of 88-73, finishing 11.5 games up on the Mets, and paid tremendous dividends as the Braves caught fire in the postseason to win their first World Series title since 1995.
The offseason was also interesting for Atlanta, which made a controversial choice to let franchise icon Freddie Freeman walk in free agency. Freeman signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, landing a six-year deal, but the Braves pivoted quickly to land his successor in a deal with the Oakland A’s that brought Matt Olson to Atlanta. Olson, who is four years younger than Freeman, signed an eight-year extension to keep him in Atlanta through 2030, aligning his deal with the long-term contracts the Braves have for Acuna and Ozzie Albies. Atlanta was also active in free agency, re-signing Eddie Rosario and adding closer Kenley Jansen, making them a formidable threat to defend their division title despite another slow start to the season.
The Mets will send right-hander Chris Bassitt (3-1, 2.25 ERA) to the mound tonight. Bassitt picked up his third win of the season last Tuesday, allowing only two hits over six shutout innings to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves will counter with lefty Max Fried (2-2, 3.00 ERA). Fried earned his second victory of the 2022 campaign last Tuesday, allowing one run in six innings of work to defeat the Chicago Cubs at home.
New York Mets Lineup:
— New York Mets (@Mets) May 2, 2022
The Mets went 9-10 against the Braves last season, including a 5-5 record at Citi Field.
Bassitt has never faced the Braves before.
Fried is 4-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 11 starts, against the Mets.
Right-hander Yoan Lopez was optioned to AAA Syracuse and Robinson Cano was designated for assignment to reduce the Mets’ active roster from 28 to 26 prior to today’s noon deadline.
Mark Canha is back in the Mets’ lineup after getting the day off on Sunday. He will bat second and play left field.
Eduardo Escobar will serve as the designated hitter tonight and bat fifth while J.D. Davis starts at third base against the lefty Fried and hits sixth.
Jeff McNeil is 7 for 20 with three doubles and four RBIs against Fried.