Sunday Game 4
By: Joe Catalano
The New York Mets (17-29) and Atlanta Braves (30-18) take center stage for Sunday Night Baseball as they square off in the finale of their 3 game series leading up to the Mets’ Subway Series with the Yanks. Thus far, it’s been utter domination by the Braves who have won 8 straight games overall.
First pitch is set for 8:05 pm ET in Flushing, N.Y. and can be viewed nationwide on ESPN.
Bet 365 Sportsbook lists the Braves as a -125 betting favorite and the total for the game is 8 runs.
Another Tomato Can….
After starting a winless loser in Dillon Gee in yesterday’s matchup, the Mets start Shawn Marcum (0-5, 5.69) who has also yet to win a game this year as we’re coming up on the month of June. The Mets are at a major disadvantage every time that they play a game except for when Matt Harvey takes the mound.
Nothing is For Free
Atlanta starts right hander Julio Teheran and although he’s not an ace in anybody’s book, the Mets wish that they had a Teheran starting for their team.
Teheran has pitched 5 consecutive quality outings. In his last 33 2/3 innings, he’s given up just 9 earned runs and has pinpoint control, walking only 2 batters in that amount of time. There will be no free passes for the Metropolitans when facing this young man.
Mets Leading Hitter
Most would think that it’s David Wright after the big contract that he landed, but its 2nd baseman, Daniel Murphy. Murphy has gotten off to a fast start with a .306 batting average, 4 home runs, and 22 runs batted in. Murphy is a steady player that can give the Mets a .300 batter, but lacks in the power department.
In his last 3 games, Murphy is 6 for 12 with 3 runs batted in and 4 runs scored. This team is in dire straits. They’ve lost 5 straight games and are on the verge of breaking down this season; they need a win in the worst way and Daniel Murphy could be one of the catalysts to help them turn it around.
8 Straight Wins!
Like I said in my last article, the Braves don’t have the best team if you look at their personnel player for player, but they find ways to win and that’s all that matters.
Freddie Freeman continued his hot hitting in yesterday’s 6-0 blowout. Freeman had another 2 runs batted in game with 2 more hits. He’s played well in this series and will be a tough out for Marcum. Justin Upton woke up a bit and had a solid 2 for 5 game with a run scored and a run batted in. Upton has 14 home runs on the season, but has no home runs and 1 run batted in during his last 6 game stretch.
For the Braves to be an elite team, they need Upton to be a more consistent player. He has all of the God-given talent in the world.
Even Jason Heyward got into the act yesterday with some offensive contribution. Heyward is looking to shake out of a funk that currently has his batting average at .170. Look for Heyward to pick it up as he’s proven to be a good major league hitter and there’s plenty of time left in the season.
Even though he’s a career 1 for 9 against Shawn Marcum, this could be a good spot for the Ridgewood, New Jersey native to get on the right track against a helpless Mets squad in turmoil.
I like the betting odds here. Julio Teheran is being underestimated as a starter. He’s had a fantastic season and this is a pure pitching mismatch. The Mets can’t seem to do anything right at the moment and there’s no reason not to take the Braves in this game.
Pick- Atlanta Braves -125 at at Bet 365 sportsbook
Saturday Game 3
By: Joe Catalano
After finishing their 5-5 suspended tie from last night, the New York Mets will take on the Atlanta Braves and although it’s a bit chilly outside, this game should be able to be played without interruption.
First pitch is set for 7:15 pm ET at CitiField in Queens, N.Y. This game can be seen on the SNY Channel.
Bet 365 Sportsbook lists Atlanta as a -156 betting odds favorite and the total for this game is 7.5 runs.
The only time that the Mets feel secure is when Matt Harvey takes the mound. Dillon Gee (2-5, 6.04) will be starting for New York and he hasn’t given them any reason to have confidence in him.
After watching everyone of his starts, Gee reminds me of a soft basketball player that can’t box out and rebound. In Gee’s case, he can’t find the plate, allowing many runners free passes and eventually scoring.
6 innings is as much as the Amazin’s will get out of the right-hander. He hasn’t had a win since April 26th and this is a case of a pitcher that’s lost his confidence. In his last start, Gee held his own, allowing 3 runs on 8 hits in 5 innings in a no-decision.
Gee will have to be at his best for the Mets to have a chance to win as they face Mike Minor. Minor (5-2, 2.78) is a big part of the Braves’ success as he’s given a quality outing in 8 out of 9 starts this season.
Setting the Tone
The finish of Friday’s 5-5 suspended game could set the tone for this game. The opponents don’t seem to have a tough time hitting home runs at CitiField as Freddie Freeman and Dan Uggla both went deep while catcher, John Buck, finally got off of the 10 home run total as he planted his 11th homer in the left field seats.
The Braves always seem to find a way to win games with good pitching and timely hitting while the Mets are a very inconsistent baseball team.
The Davis Dilemma
At some point, the Mets have to decide whether to ship Ike Davis to the minors or not.
Davis is batting a mere .143 on the season and having an automatic out in the lineup kills momentum. Aside from David Wright, hitting for power and low average seems to be a theme for players like Lucas Duda, John Buck, and Ike Davis; they did the same exact thing last season (except for Buck) until Davis woke up. New York can’t wait for Ike to wake up as he sits at the bottom of the league in batting average along with Adam Dunn.
While Jason Heyward (.167) tries to find his stroke, the meat of the Braves lineup has been enough to carry them. The Braves have the catching combination of Evan Gattis (10 HR) and Brian McCann while 1st baseman Freddie Freeman has been holding down the cleanup spot.
Freeman has been a productive hitter, but has had somewhat of a power outage this season as his home run in yesterday’s game was only his 3rd of the season.
The Braves are the type of team where the only statistic that tells the story is the win column and that’s one that they’ve mastered for nearly 2 consecutive decades.
I think that the suspended game can throw things off a tad. The Braves don’t have an overwhelming offense and the Mets are a team that has the power and a flair for the dramatics. Look for Dillon Gee to keep New York in this game and for the Mets to pull off the upset as a sizeable underdog.
Pick- New York Mets +146 at Bet 365
Good Luck everyone and bring your jackets to the game!
By: Joe Freda
Both clubs are slated to send right-handed starters to the hill, with Atlanta’s Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02 ERA) listed as road ‘chalk’ against New York’s Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 5.00 ERA).
Braves, Mets split in Atlanta
The National League East rivals each came away with one win earlier this month at Turner Field, while the OVER cashed at 2-0. New York cracked four homers as part of a 7-5 win in extra innings, while the Braves bounced back two days later with 12 hits in a 9-4 triumph.
Atlanta went 5-4 in last year’s nine road matchups at Citi Field, outscoring the Mets by a combined 42-26 margin. The UNDER also cashed at a 5-4 clip, while three of the duels were one-run affairs.
Medlen stingy in latest action
Medlen held the Los Angeles Dodgers two hits over seven innings in Saturday’s 3-1 victory for Atlanta, while coming away with a no-decision. The 27-year-old gave up no earned runs, cashing as a 162 home favorite.
Braves relievers Cory Gearrin and Craig Kimbrel notched their staff’s win and save, respectively, tossing one frame each of scoreless ball. Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons and Evan Gattis drove in all of their side’s runs, belting one homer each.
Hefner shelled in Chi-town
Hefner logged his third loss in four starts on the same day of action, with New York’s 8-2 defeat as a 120 road dog to the Chicago Cubs. The Oklahoma native gave up four runs over four innings, allowing five hits and two walks.
Mets outfielder Rick Ankiel poked his second homer of the year, finishing 2-for-4. New York’s Ike Davis was held to a 0-for-4 afternoon from the cleanup spot, while mates Mike Baxter and David Wright united to leave six men on base.
Back the UNDER in New York
Pinnacle Sports opened Medlen as a 160 betting odds favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 7 ½. The weather forecast at Citi Field calls for a 60-degree night, with a 75-percent chance of rain and 13 mph winds blowing inward.
I am adding the UNDER in this battle to Friday’s sports picks, looking for both clubs to struggle in the batter’s box.
New York has been held to a .209 BA against right-handed pitching at home, while the UNDER has cashed at 5-2 in the team’s last seven matchups against a listed righty. Medlen gave up just four earned runs over 27 2/3 IP against the Mets last year, combining efforts as both a starter and reliever.
Hefner has struggled but faces a Braves squad that has piled up three runs or more in just two matchups over their last six road dates. The UNDER is 4-0 in Atlanta’s last four spots as road ‘chalk’ of minus 151 to 200, while cashing at 3-2 in Medlen’s five starts away from home.
Look for the UNDER to get the money again here, adding another cashed ticket to the wager’s 5-1 mark in New York’s last six games as an underdog.
Free Pick: UNDER 7 ½ at Bet 365[gameodds]3/227852/43-349-192/us[/gameodds]