My, my, how the Mets have fallen back to Earth since we last saw them. Sure, they’re still first in the NL East, but despite a pitching staff headlined by Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and rookie sensation Noah Syndergaard, they’re a mere three games over .500. A far cry from when they were sitting pretty at 13-3 after sweeping Atlanta in late April. A fair amount of this can be attributed to an offense that has gone cold since losing David Wright to a long-term spinal injury and sneaky good second-baseman Daniel Murphy to a bum quad a couple weeks ago. In their place, the Mets are running out less-than-inspiring options in Eric Campbell (73 wRC+) and Dilson Herrera (79 wRC+). The return of Travis D’Arnaud should help, but the continued decent play of Curtis Granderson and Juan Lagares and the powerful left-handed bat of Lucas Duda will have to overcome the general badness of everyone else. All told, the Mets and Braves offenses are surprisingly similar, with Freeman and Duda the anchors supporting a few decent pieces and a hodgepodge of flotsam.
This series will ultimately be won with pitching, which—if the last month or so is any indicator—should mean a decisive win for the Mets. New York sports a team FIP almost a full run better than Atlanta’s. On the starter front, the game 2 and 3 starters—deGrom and Syndergaard—feature explosive, wipe out stuff that stymies even the best of offenses. Game one, in which Atlanta pits Alex Wood against Twitter cult-hero Bartolo Colon, represents the Braves best chance for a win, with a 51% expected winning percentage. Shelby Miller and Atlanta’s own big-armed rookie, Mike Foltynewicz, are capable of holding their own. But it’s likely that this series will come down to the ‘pen, where Atlanta’s well-documented troubles are met by a group of Mets relievers that feature a 2.71 ERA and a 3.12 FIP, good for third best in the Majors.
Like any series, the Braves could surprise us by taking two out of three. And if they do, it’ll likely be because the starters go deep into games, and the Braves capitalize on Bartolo Colon being mediocre and Noah Syndergaard’s susceptibility early in the count (.361 BA through 1-1 counts vs. .250 in two-strike counts). Of course, with New York throwing three right handers, it’s also likely Kelly Johnson puts the team on his back and rains hell-fire down upon Citi Field. Given the choice of a solid bullpen performance or KJ and Freddie taking over the series, I’m inclined to place my money on the latter. On to the infographic: