After splitting a four-game series with the Red Sox, the Mets head to Truist Park for a four-game series with the Braves. This is the second series of the year in which these two teams have faced-off against each other. The Mets will look for redemption, after dropping the opening series. Here are their keys to success.
The offense needs to come through with runners in scoring position
The Mets took the first two games of their series with the Red Sox, but lost some tough, close games the last two times out. While the Mets lead the NL in hits, they haven’t come through with men in scoring position. They were a dreadful 4-for-24 over their last two games and left 19 men on base. This comes after they went just 4-for-21 in their opening series against the Braves.
Additionally, they had many at bats where players chased pitches out of the zone in spots where there were runners on base. In order for the Mets to win games, they desperately need to start getting hits when they matter most. Right now, it just seems as if their hitters are trying to do too much in these situations, and it has hurt them badly.
Starters need to work deep into games
All of the Mets’ starters gave them solid efforts against Boston. However, none of them pitched past the sixth inning. The Mets need their starters to start being more efficient so they don’t have to overuse their bullpen. Most recently, manager Luis Rojas sent out Justin Wilson to pitch four times in a span of six days. Wilson struggled his last time out, which is what happens when teams have to keep asking the bullpen for more innings. If the Mets can get their pitchers to work deeper into games, they won’t have to worry about their bullpen as much.
The bullpen needs to find consistency
The Mets’ bullpen was fantastic for most of their opening series. However, they started to falter against the Red Sox, especially in the last two games. Seth Lugo served up a game-tying homer on Wednesday, which was a rare rough outing for the most reliable arm in their bullpen. Additionally, the aforementioned Wilson allowed three hits, three walks, and three runs and was charged with the loss in that game. On Thursday night, Edwin Díaz threw 35 pitches in the ninth inning but could only record one out as he allowed a hit, two walks, and hit a batter to give up a run. The bullpen was a huge problem for the Mets last year, and it’s giving them fits once again this year.
Game-one of the series is a rematch of last Sunday’s game, as Rick Porcello will face off against Sean Newcomb. Porcello is looking to bounce back after the Braves shelled him for six runs in just two-plus innings in his Mets debut. Newcomb only pitched 3.1 innings last time out and allowed three hits and two walks, but he only allowed one run.
Michael Wacha will start the second game for the Mets, while the Braves haven’t announced their starter yet. Wacha was solid in his Mets debut, allowing just one run and five hits in five innings with four strikeouts.
David Peterson will make his second big league start on Sunday afternoon. He got the win in his first start, allowing two runs and seven hits over 5.2 innings with three strikeouts. Meanwhile, the Braves will counter with another first-round pick from 2017 in Kyle Wright. Wright is looking to rebound after the Rays attacked him for five runs in just 2.2 innings last time out.
The series will wrap up on Monday with a re-match of Opening Day, as Jacob deGrom and Mike Soroka will face off. Both pitchers had scoreless outing on Opening Day, and both have two no-decisions on the season. deGrom allowed two runs, three hits, and one walk with four strikeouts in six innings on Wednesday. He was in line for the win, but as has happened many times before, he watched the bullpen relinquish his lead. Meanwhile, Soroka allowed four hits, three walks, and three runs (two earned) while striking out five batters in 5.1 innings against the Rays in his last outing.