Braves vs. Mets MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Taijuan Walker, New York Worth Trusting Early (Friday, August 5)
Adam Hunger/Getty Images. Pictured: Taijuan Walker
- The Mets are solid home favorites in tonight's matchup against the Braves.
- Taijuan Walker takes the mound for New York, while Ian Anderson is set to go for Atlanta.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Braves vs. Mets Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The New York Mets made a statement Thursday with their victory in Game 1 of this five-game series. They bashed four homers on the way to a 6-4 win, which is the club’s ninth win in their last 10 games.
Tonight, they’ll look to keep the ball rolling as they send Taijuan Walker to the hill. Walker has been tremendous this season as he enters with a 9-2 record, a 2.79 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP. He has yet to face this dangerous Braves lineup this year, but he may have the perfect arsenal to combat them.
Opposing him for Atlanta will be Ian Anderson. He’ll enter this start off his best outing of the season as he threw six shutout innings while only allowing one hit and striking out nine against Arizona. He’ll need to give his club a good performance here as they aim to even up the series.
The war wages on for the NL East. Who will take win the second battle? Let’s find out.
Expect Walker to Succeed Against Free-Swinging Braves
The Braves’ lineup is very dangerous as they are second in majors in home runs. Anyone can land a big blow, but while their power results are excellent, their tendencies at the plate present opportunities for Walker to contain them.
The Braves are not afraid to swing the bat, and they’ve done it very confidently and successfully over the last three months, but they also enter this game with the third-highest strikeout rate and the 11th-lowest walk rate in the majors.
Looking at what has made Walker successful this season is the implementation of his splitter, which he picked up from Carlos Carrasco, who dealt Thursday night. Walker has become a ground ball machine as his ground ball rate is the highest it has been since 2015.
His splitter has a batting average against of .177 and an average launch angle of – 1 degree. In addition, his splitter has created the most whiffs and has put batters away at a higher rate than any of his other pitches. So the opposition is not seeing it well, and when they do put it in play, it has been an automatic ground ball.
The Braves will play right into Walker’s plan and wave at the splitters. They are going to see them just as much as his fastball. So unless we see an adjustment in approach, the results are pretty predictable here.
Anderson’s Reverse Splits Spell Trouble Against Mets Lineup
Anderson has not pitched nearly as badly as his 4.99 ERA may portray. He’s given up three runs or less in 12 of his 20 starts, and one of his better outings came against the Mets.
However, the Mets improved their matchup splits at the deadline, and it’s already paid dividends with Tyler Naquin and Daniel Vogelbach producing, but that also means we have to look at Anderson’s splits.
It may surprise you that Anderson has been drastically worse against right-handed hitters than lefties. However, that is because Anderson relies on his plus changeup to get hitters out. A circle change is not nearly as effective against righties as opposed to lefties because of its arm-side run. His changeup will float middle into righties, which is not a good idea against the likes of Pete Alonso and Starling Marte.
Even if the Mets do load up their order with lefties, they should be able to produce as well. Lefties may only be hitting .202 off Anderson this year, but he also has a 4.15 xFIP against them. So he is overdue for some damage against him from left-handed hitters.
The Mets have the edge here when you analyze both starting pitchers. Walker could cruise through the Braves’ order by making them hit his pitch as the Braves are likely to oblige. On the other side, both Anderson’s and the Mets’ splits work in favor of New York.
However, the one caveat to this handicap is that the Mets dipped into the back-end of their bullpen last night, and Edwin Diaz recorded his first six-out save of the year, so he is unavailable.
With no arms worth trusting left in the Mets bullpen, I’ll stick to backing Walker in the first five.
Pick: Mets F5 -135