Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. watches his solo home run in front of Washington Nationals catcher Jonathan Lucroy in the third inning of an opening day baseball game at Nationals Park, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
- The Atlanta Braves are -150 home favorites over the New York Mets on Monday night at Truist Park
- Taijuan Walker (3-1, 2.20 ERA) will pitch for the Mets against left-hander Max Fried (1-1, 6.55)
- A breakdown of the Mets-Braves matchup can be below with a pick
Two National League East rivals meet for the first this season when the New York Mets visit the Atlanta Braves at 7:10 p.m. ET Monday at Truist Park.
Taijuan Walker (3-1, 2.20 ERA) will pitch for the Mets against left-hander Max Fried (1-1, 6.55).
The Mets (18-16) were swept on the road in a three-game weekend series by the Tampa Bay Rays. That came on the heels of a seven-game winning streak.
The Braves (19-21) took two of three from the Brewers over the weekend in Milwaukee and are favored in this game. It was a good bounce back for Atlanta after being swept at home in three games by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Mets vs Braves Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline||Total at DraftKings|
|New York Mets||+128||+1.5 (-175)||Over 8 (-104)|
|Atlanta Braves||-150||-1.5 (+140)||Under 8 (-118)|
Odds as of May 17th.
Walker Shining for Mets
Walker has been a good investment so far for the Mets after being signed to a two-year, $20-million contract as a free agent just after spring training began.
The Mets signed Taijuan Walker to a two-year, $20 million deal after pitchers and catchers had already reported to spring training.
He has a 2.20 ERA this year, 11th best in all of MLB among starters.
👏👏 @tai_walker pic.twitter.com/o39CKgqdL4
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 12, 2021
Walker has won his last two starts and three of his last four. In his last outing, he held the Baltimore Orioles to one run in seven innings while allowing four hits and three walks and striking out four.
In each of those last four starts, Walker has pitched at least six innings. He has allowed two runs or fewer in six of his seven starts this season.
Walker is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against the Braves. Both were in 2017 when he was pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Braves vs Walker Career Stats
|Ronald Acuna Jr.||0||0||0||0||0||—|
The Braves scored 20 runs in the three games in Milwaukee, scoring at least five in each contest. Second baseman Ozzie Albies stretched his streak of reaching base to 19 games.
The Braves are expected to get star right fielder Ronald Acuna Jr. back in the lineup. He was limited to one pinch-hitting appearance in the series with the Brewers because of an ankle injury.
Ronald Acuña Jr. did it again.
That’s his league-leading 11th homer. pic.twitter.com/NajsTrxH4G
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 12, 2021
The Braves are struggling to get production for the heart of the order, though. The Nos. 2, 3 and 4 spots have combined for a .217 batting average this season.
2021 Cy Young Odds Tracker
Fried Back on Track
Fried has made two strong starts since spending three weeks on the injured list with a strained right hamstring. He has allowed two runs and six hits in 11 innings after going 0-1 with an 11.45 ERA in three starts to begin the season.
Against the Blue Jays in his last outing, Fried gave up only one run and two hits in six innings but wound up with a no-decision.
Fried was well-coifed for that start.
Max Fried Haircut Alert, anyone? 👀 pic.twitter.com/Sz5yFmuElj
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 12, 2021
Fried has had success against the Mets in his career. His record is 3-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 13 games, including eight starts.
In last year’s pandemic shortened season, Fried faced New York twice and was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA.
Mets vs Fried Career Stats
Fried could be facing a weakened lineup.
Second baseman Jeff McNeil and right fielder Anthony Conforto both sustained hamstring injuries that forced them from Sunday’s game against the Rays. Both are considered day-to-day.
McNeil has reached base in 21 consecutive games in addition to having one of the best bat flips of 2021. Conforto had a 14-game on-base streak snapped during his shortened appearance Sunday.
Holy bat flip, Jeff McNeil. pic.twitter.com/lhBNSYvOlK
— The Baseball Newsletter (@bbletter) April 8, 2021
The Mets have scuffled to score runs in the past week, managing four or less in five of their last seven games.
The Mets and Braves both lost on Sunday.
The Rays downed the Mets 7-1 behind home runs by Manuel Margot, Willy Adames and Brandon Lowe off Marcus Stroman.
Good things come in 3s pic.twitter.com/WRo67bAZgu
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 16, 2021
Stroman dropped to 0-4 in his last five starts. He allowed five runs and six hits in six innings as his ERA rose from 2.01 to 2.72.
The Braves lost 10-9 to the Brewers but nearly overcame an 8-0 deficit. Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta struck out eight and allowed two hits over six scoreless innings.
Freddie Freeman hit a grand slam in the Braves’ seven-run seventh inning.
FREDDIE FREEMAN GRAND SLAM
THINGS ARE HAPPENING pic.twitter.com/iyJ1VLCIzw
— Bally Sports: Braves (@BravesOnBally) May 16, 2021
Dansby Swanson hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth off closer Josh Hader to draw the Braves with a run. Hader then struck out William Contreras with two on to end it.
The Braves have won the season series from the Mets each of the last three years, going 31-17 in that span.
Even though the Mets enter this game reeling, they are enticing as an underdog with Walker on the mound.
The Pick: Mets moneyline (+128)
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.