Series Preview: Mets vs. Braves

The Mets head down to Atlanta to take on the Braves for a three-game set. Here's what to look out for in this series.
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The Mets roll into Atlanta on Tuesday night to take on the Braves, after losing nine of their last 14 games.

At 40-34, the Amazins' lead in the National League East has been cut down to 3.5 games.

The offense has been abysmal during this stretch, averaging just 2.4 runs per game in this span. They've also been shutout four times across this period.

With another critical series against their division rivals, Inside the Mets is here to preview some of the key matchups to look out for.

Pitching Probables

Game 1: Tylor Megill vs. Charlie Morton

Rookie pitcher Tylor Megill will make his second start in the big leagues against the same team he debuted against last week.

Megill was more than solid in his first major league outing, going 4.1 innings, while allowing two runs on three hits, striking out four and walking two.

Although he did not eclipse the five inning mark to qualify for the win, Megill helped the Mets earn a 7-3 victory. Tuesday night will be Megill's first road start in the majors.

On the other side, Charlie Morton goes for the Braves, and he dominated the Mets in his last outing. Morton went seven shutout innings, striking out 11 Mets' batters, while allowing just one hit in the Braves' 3-0 win.

Morton is having an excellent season at age-37, with a 7-3 record, 3.68 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 80.2 innings.

Game 2: David Peterson vs. Max Fried

A rejuvenated David Peterson will look to keep his resurgence going against the Braves on Wednesday.

After a rough start to his season, Peterson has bounced back to allow a mere two runs in his last three starts combined across 16.2 innings.

As for the Braves, they will send out their ace left-hander Max Fried, who has been gaining steam as of late.

Fried is coming off an impressive start, where he shut down the St. Louis Cardinals through seven innings, giving up one run on two hits, and striking out six hitters.

Game 3: Jacob deGrom vs. Drew Smyly

In the third-and-final game of the series, Mets ace Jacob deGrom will take the mound.

While deGrom was solid in his last start, he gave up two runs and struck out only five in six innings against the Phillies on Saturday. This is worthy of note, given the fact that deGrom allowed half as many runs as he has all season in his previous outing.

Regardless, his league-leading ERA sits at 0.69, and he shut the Braves down through five innings, while allowing just one hit last time he faced them.

Left-hander Drew Smyly will oppose deGrom on Thursday, and he has had a productive stretch recently, as well.

In his last three starts, Smyly has given up three runs across 16.2 innings.

Outlook

While the Mets were initially expecting to have Brandon Nimmo back for this series, the plan changed, and he will not be activated until the weekend when they play the Yankees.

As previously mentioned, the Mets' offense has been anemic in the past two weeks. However, they did have a late scoring surge last night in the final three innings with two homers in an 8-4 loss to the Nationals.

The hope is, that they can build off this performance and get some of their big hitters back on track to take some of the pressure off the pitching staff.

Despite a 5-9 stretch, the Mets still hold the best staff ERA in baseball at 3.11, while the Braves rank 19th with a 4.30 ERA.

The Braves currently sit at 37-40, and are 4.5 games back of the Mets in the NL East. This is a critical series for both teams, as Atlanta will look to gain some ground in the division, while the Mets will try to separate themselves from the pack.

Atlanta has hit the fourth most home runs in MLB with 109 entering Tuesday's contest, as well. 

Met killer Freddie Freeman is slashing .333/.419/.519 in his last seven games, but the dangerous Ronald Acuna Jr. is hitting .222/.276/.667 in this span. Despite this semi-cold stretch, Acuna has still slugged three homers in his last seven contests.

The Braves' offense has also struggled in their last 10 games, averaging 2.2 runs per contest.