The Atlanta Braves and New York Mets each recognized this week’s four-game series as an opportunity to measure each other against a potent division rival.
For the Braves, a win on Monday night got them halfway to the split they needed to at least ensure they wouldn’t lose ground to the Mets — who are all too aware of how quickly a big division lead can shrink.
The Braves will look to end the Mets’ streak of consecutive series wins Tuesday during a doubleheader between the National League East rivals.
Right-hander Charlie Morton (1-2, 7.00 ERA) is slated to start Game 1 for the Braves, with fellow right-hander Kyle Wright (3-0, 1.13 ERA) starting the nightcap. The Mets are scheduled to send right-hander Carlos Carrasco (1-1, 4.09 ERA) and left-hander David Peterson (0-0, 0.64 ERA) to the mound, though the team hadn’t decided on the order as of late Monday night.
The Braves overcame an early deficit Monday night, when Travis d’Arnaud went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in a 5-2 win.
The win pulled the defending World Series champion Braves within five games of the Mets, whose seven straight series wins to open the season is the longest in franchise history and tied for the third-longest in the NL since 1977.
“I’m kind of glad we’re getting in the division here,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said before Monday’s game. “We’ve been seeing the Mets from afar. We knew they were a really good team — they did really good things here in the offseason. It doesn’t surprise me where they’re at, so I’m kind of glad to play them.”
The Mets added Chris Bassitt, Mark Canha, Eduardo Escobar, Starling Marte and Max Scherzer and hired Buck Showalter as manager. It was a clear response to a season in which they led the NL East for 114 days but finished 77-85 and 11 1/2 games behind the Braves, who didn’t get over .500 for the first time until Aug. 6.
“It’s funny how everybody says ‘Well, this team is going to be weak,’ and then all of a sudden you get into August and they’re not and somebody that was supposed to be really good is not,” Showalter said Monday afternoon. “So you don’t know. That’s why you treat them all (the same).”
Morton didn’t factor into the decision last Wednesday in a 6-3, 10-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs, when he gave up three runs over 2 1/3 innings. Wright earned the win last Thursday after surrendering one run over seven innings in Atlanta’s 5-1 win over the Cubs.
Carrasco took the loss last Wednesday after giving up eight runs (seven earned) in 3 2/3 innings as the Mets fell to the St. Louis Cardinals, 10-5. Peterson, who will be recalled from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday, last pitched for New York on April 22, when he didn’t factor into the decision after allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings in a 6-5, 10-inning win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Morton is 3-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 14 career games (13 starts) against the Mets. Wright is 1-2 with a 7.16 ERA in five games (four starts) against New York.
Carrasco is 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two games (one start) against the Braves. Peterson is 1-2 with a 5.95 ERA in four starts against Atlanta.
–Field Level Media