MLB Picks: Braves vs. Mets Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Monday, July 7, 2014 11:47 AM UTC

Monday, Jul. 7, 2014 11:47 AM UTC

It has been an awful start to this week's road trip for the Braves.  Can Atlanta salvage the finale in New York in a game the MLB oddsmakers have as a pick 'em?


10th July
Braves vs. Mets Game 4

By: Willie Bee


It appears that both the Atlanta Braves and myself are about to be swept.  Wednesday's 4-1 victory for the New York Mets put them in position to pull off the broom job which has already cost Atlanta's its footing atop the NL East standings

Dillon Gee was sharp in his return from a 2-month stay on the disabled list, posting the Mets' fourth consecutive quality start in Game 3 triumph.  Gee's 7-IP, 1-ER followed scoreless efforts by Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jacob deGrom in the first two games, putting Bartolo Colon on the spot to continue the streak on Thursday (7:10 PM ET). 

Wagering numbers went out as a pick 'em between Colon and Atlanta's Aaron Harang, and the moneyline remains close to that with the Braves slightly favored at several outlets listed on SBR's live MLB odds.  Scoreboard bettors have to make a choice on a 7.5 run total that carries extra tax on the 'under.'

Colon Looks To Snap 2-Game Skid
Aaron Harang endured an ugly outing vs. the Phillies a few weeks ago (5 IP, 8 ER), but has since bounced back with three consecutive victories to leave the Braves 11-7 with the veteran righthander on the bump.  The dark lining is Harang giving up four homers and 26 hits in 21 innings, the long ball count half of the eight he has allowed all season.

The San Diego State alum closed the 2013 campaign in the Mets' rotation, and has split his two matchups against them in 2014 with a fine 0.69 ERA.  The win came April 18 at Citi Field where Harang held New York hitless for seven scoreless innings, working around six free passes. 

Bartolo Colon enters Thursday's tilt off consecutive losses, allowing five runs to each the Pirates and Rangers in the two outings.  He had previously won three straight with the Mets 6-3 over his last nine assignments.  The Dominican beat Harang in Atlanta on April 8, tossing seven shutout frames against the Braves, but took the loss (7 IP, 3 ER) in New York 11 days later when he matched up against Ervin Santana.

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Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Tim Timmons should complete the umpire rotation when he dons the mask to call balls and strikes on Thursday.  His last four plate assignments went 'over' the number to leave the 16-year veteran 9-7-1 (O/U/P) on the year.  Timmons has had dish duty twice at Citi Field in 2014, both of those matchups going beyond the total.

This was supposed to be an easy road trip for the Braves with this stop in New York followed by a weekend at Wrigley Field against the Cubs, but it hasn't worked out that way so far.  Some of their trouble can be attributed to the fine pitching by Matsuzaka, deGrom and Gee, but Braves hitters also share in the blame with a .129 average with runners in scoring position (4-31).  I'm going to bet on that changing tonight, and for both offenses to end this set with a bang and send the final past the total for my free MLB pick.

My pick: Braves-Mets Over 7.5 (+105)

Season: 84-82 (+2.10)


9th July
Braves vs. Mets Game 3

By: Willie Bee


It was one hit after another for the New York Mets on Tuesday, sort of like how The Beatles arrived in America 50 years ago on the pop charts. New York batters stroked 18 in all, seven players recording multi-hit efforts, which proved more than enough to hand the Atlanta Braves an 8-3 defeat in the second of their 4-game series.

The result means that three is the magic number when the clubs reconvene at Citi Field on Wednesday. Game 3 finds the Mets on a 3-game win streak while Atlanta drags a 3-game skid into the 7:10 PM (ET) affair in Flushing. Ervin Santana gets the nod for the Braves who are running in the -120 to -130 range on the MLB odds. He'll be opposed by New York's Dillon Gee with a 7 run total.

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Gee Returns After Nearly 2 Months On DL
Santana toes the rubber for a 17th time in 2014, and brings a 2-game win streak into the Hump Day tilt after the Braves lost his previous four starts. His ERA has been slightly better on the road up to now, but Atlanta is 4-5 when Santana pitches away from Turner Field as opposed to 4-3 at home.

Two of his seven wins came against the Mets in April, both of those games filed in the quality start column (15 IP combined, 1 ER). That leaves Santana a perfect 3-0 vs. New York in as many career starts, his ERA a miniscule 0.85.

Gee has been sidelined since May 10 with a strained lat, and is coming back from the DL just in time to step into New York's rotation after lefty Jon Niese hit the injured list due to shoulder inflammation. The righthander tuned up for this appearance with three rehab starts, and dominated low-level minor leaguers with a 1.69 ERA and 18 K's in 10.2 innings.  Gee missed the Braves each of the three series this season, and the Mets went 1-3 when he faced Atlanta last year despite his fine 2.63 ERA.

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Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Sean Barber has only been on the MLB umpiring scene for a few months now, but he's already making a lot of friends among bettors though he has made a few enemies on the field. The 'over' has cashed in 11 of his first 15 plate assignments, with his contests averaging close to double-digits on the scoreboard. Placing a wager on the visitors is also helping to increase bankrolls (10-5).

There is still a light chance of rain lingering in the New York City area, but nothing that will affect this game being played in its entirety. Muggy temps in the low-80s are the forecast for game-time, along with the same SSW winds (8-12 mph) blowing out to center that we've seen the past two evenings.

New York has pulled off two straight upsets to begin this series, but I'm too stubborn to jump off Atlanta just yet and will go with the visitors once again with my free pick.

MLB Pick: Braves -120

Season: 84-81 (+3.30)


8th July
Braves vs. Mets Game 2

By: Willie Bee


Bonus baseball was the theme for Monday's series opener in New York between the Mets and Atlanta Braves. The good news for Mets fans was they went home happy thanks to Ruben Tejada's walk-off RBI single in the 11th that give New York a 4-3 upset over Atlanta.

It wasn't all bad news for the Braves either, as they still managed to cling to a half-game lead in the NL East thanks to the Orioles' pulling off their own 11-inning victory in Washington vs. the Nationals.

Atlanta will now try and level the 4-game series behind ace Julio Teheran while New York sends rookie Jacob deGrom to the bump. SBR's live MLB odds list the Braves in the -140 to -150 range, a 7 run total priced to the high side of the number also among the baseball betting options for Game 2.

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Teheran & deGrom Meet For 2nd Time
Where would the Braves be without Teheran at the top of their rotation? Now in his second full big league season, the Colombian has been about as consistent an arm as you'll find in the game with 16 quality starts among his 18 assignments, and ranks in the top 25 of all MLB pitchers with a 5.2 unit return for those backing Atlanta in his outings.

Teheran had a rough patch in June when the Braves dropped three straight outings by the righthander, but he has since rebounded with two consecutive victories. The most recent was a solid effort last Wednesday vs. the Mets (7 IP, 1 ER), and Atlanta is 2-1 in his three appearances at Citi Field where Teheran owns a 1.50 ERA in 18 frames.

deGrom was on the losing end of last week's matchup with Teheran, surrendering all three Braves runs in a 3-1 setback. That was his first look at the Atlanta lineup, and fourth consecutive road start. The Mets have lost all four of his home assignments despite deGrom pitching to a 2.24 ERA at Citi Field.

Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
The ejection of Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez in the 9th-inning Monday could set the tone for a confrontational series with the umpires. Mike Everitt should be calling balls and strikes Tuesday, going 6-3 O/U so far in 2014 with home teams 7-2 (1-0 as underdog).

The weatherman says there's a 30% shot of showers passing through the Big Apple around game time, but the most notable part of the forecast is the 15-18 mph SSW wind (out to center).

I'll tip my cap to Daisuke Matsuzaka for his strong performance in New York's win on Monday. But I'm coming right back with another free pick on Atlanta tonight.

MLB Pick: Braves -140

Season: 84-80 (+4.70)


7th July
Braves vs. Mets Game 1

By: Willie Bee


Ten games above .500 meets 10 games below as the Atlanta Braves hit the highway for the week leading into the All-Star Game, their first four battles on the trip in New York against the Mets.

Each matchup in the long set has a 7:10 PM (ET) start time, with Monday's mound clash initially between Atlanta's Mike Minor and New York's Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Braves originally went out as chalk around -125, but that moneyline has crept up to the mid-130s at most books listed on SBR's live MLB odds where a 7.5 run total is also available.

Thanks to a sweep in Atlanta last week, the Braves have a 6-3 edge in the matchups between the clubs in 2014, giving them a 416-337 all-time mark. The last time the Mets won a season series was 2006, Atlanta taking five of the previous seven years with two 9-9 ties along the way.

The Braves won two of three at Citi Field in April, chalk taking each of those games. Totals in that series ranged from 7-7.5, with two of the contests falling short of the scoreboard hurdle.

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Braves Look To Begin New Win Streak Before Break
Atlanta (49-39, +4.0 units, 34-50-4 O/U/P) saw its 9-game win streak come to an end Sunday against the Diamondbacks, Arizona scoring a 3-1 upset as a mid-150's underdog. The Braves have relied on pitching pretty much the entire season, hence the near-60% return on the 'under', and that was certainly their strength the past couple of weeks when they allowed just 2.5 runs per game during an 11-2 stretch.

Minor has failed to follow up on his excellent 2013 campaign, no doubt due in part to the delayed start he got on 2014 due to a shoulder issue.  The former Vanderbilt star has shined in a few starts, but mostly been mediocre in compiling a 4.73 ERA while Atlanta has split his 12 starts to date.

He was no mystery at all to the Mets last Tuesday at Turner Field where he was yanked in the fifth inning having surrendered four runs on nine hits, two of those home runs off the bats of Curtis Granderson and Daniel Murphy. Those were the first two homers Minor has allowed to left-handed batters this season, though they are hitting .375 against him. The end result, however, was a 5-4 Braves victory, their fourth in Minor's last five assignments, and he blanked New York for 7.1 IP on this mound last year in his only start at Citi Field.

Dice K Seeks 1st Win Over Braves Since Rookie Year
New York (39-49, -4.7 units, 39-38-11 O/U/P) pulled off a series win vs. Texas over the weekend, but then again, it's an injury-riddled Rangers squad and beating them hasn't exactly been too difficult lately. The Mets are simply a middling team talent-wise, yet still dangerous enough to screw up some team's hopes before the end of 2014, perhaps even messing with the Braves at this juncture.

Matsuzaka was on the losing end of that 5-4 score vs. Minor and the Braves a week ago, his third straight notch in the L column. All of those losses came on the road, with Monday's assignment just his second of 2014 in front of the home fans.  Dice K has a sparkling 1.40 ERA in 25+ innings at Citi Field this year, but owns a 10.12 ERA vs. the Braves in three starts and two relief appearances since beating them in Boston during his 2007 rookie season.

The series appears to be safe from Mother Nature, though baseball bettors will want to keep an eye on the wind forecasts. Hitters should get a little help Monday night in notoriously pitcher-friendly Citi Field with a 15-18 mph SW wind (out to center, right-center) accompanying temps in the mid-to-upper 80s at first pitch.

Minor's inconsistency scares me a little, but Matsuzaka is even scarier. I'm backing Atlanta with my free pick in Game 1.

MLB Pick: Braves -135

Season: 84-78 (+7.05)

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