Braves vs. Mets Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back New York as Home Dogs at Citi Field (Saturday, May 29)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Taijuan Walker #99 of the New York Mets.
Braves vs. Mets Odds
|Time||7:15 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet.|
Inclement weather in the Northeast resulted in the postponement of Friday’s game between the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets. The Braves and Mets will now hopefully get the series underway on Saturday. Ian Anderson will get the start on the mound for Atlanta, while New York will counter with Taijuan Walker.
This matchup has the feel of a low-scoring game on paper, but now both teams will also have to contend with 14 mph winds blowing in from the right field. That could be to New York’s advantage considering that they’ve been fielding a somewhat weaker lineup with multiple starters listed on the injury list.
The Mets have had to rely on a combination of small ball, good pitching, and timely hitting to maintain their 2.5 game lead in the division. They’ll need to use that same formula on Saturday night to get by a Braves team that’s scored the most runs in the division.
That’s where the windy conditions could benefit the Mets as history shows they’re quite adept in winning these types of ballgames.
The Braves habitually seem to pluck a new starting pitcher from their farm system whenever the need arises. Ian Anderson is the latest example of that. The native New Yorker made his debut against the Yankees of all teams and looked the part of an eight-year veteran — pitching six innings and allowing just one run.
Anderson went on to make five more regular-season starts and finished with a 3-2 record, a 1.95 ERA, and a 1.08 WHIP. He was even added to Atlanta’s postseason roster and went 2-0 with a 0.96 ERA in four starts.
This season, he seems to have picked up right where he left off as he’s 4-1 with a 2.82 ERA. However, his 3.87 xERA (expected ERA) is more than a full run higher, and when you pair that with his 3.29 FIP, he could be due for some regression. Anderson will want to continue to cut down on his walks as his 3.71 BB/9 prevents him from pitching even deeper in the later innings of his starts.
Handing the ball too early to Atlanta’s bullpen has often been problematic this season. Atlanta ranks 24th in terms of successful holds (28) the bullpen has preserved.
As for the Mets, they’ll need to be patient against Anderson to drive his pitch count up. They’ve shown the ability to do so this season, considering they’re ranked eighth with a walk rate of 9.3%.
Another thing that could help with their patience at the plate is the fact that Anderson really only throws three pitches: A four-seamer (47.3%), a changeup (31.9%), and a curveball (20.4%).
The fact that they’re not facing a pitcher with a bigger pitch arsenal means fewer pitches for them to eliminate in certain counts. That should help this current Mets lineup with only four at-bats against Anderson despite facing him last season and handing him his first career loss.
That goes to show how many of New York’s current starters are out injured at the moment.
New York Mets
New York struck gold when they inked Walker to a two-year, $20 million deal with a player option in the third year. The right-hander has more than delivered in his eight starts as he’s gone 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. His 2.84 FIP is also impressive compared to Anderson’s at 3.29.
Another area where Walker differs from Anderson is that he uses five pitches in his arsenal: Four-seamer (31.4%), slider (23%), sinker (22%), splitter (14.6%), and curveball sinker (9%). The only pitch that batters are even hitting above .200 is the sinker (.276).
Of the remaining four pitches, batters are hitting .179 or lower. In fact, all five of Walker’s pitches have an above-average value in terms of runs allowed, according to FanGraphs’ Pitch Info data. He’ll need to have all of them working against a Braves team that’s ranked in the top ten with a wRC+ value of 106.
It will be interesting to keep an eye on Walker’s splits throughout the season. He’s been stingy in allowing just one home run in 44 innings of work this year. I have to think some of that is buoyed by him pitching most of his games at Citi Field. His ability to limit home runs thwarts much of the game plan of how many opposing teams approach hitting today.
According to ESPN’s Park Factors, Citi Field yields the second-fewest home runs at home vs. on the road, and the third-fewest runs allowed vs. on the road.
That plays right into Walker’s strength, and his 2-0 record with a 1.48 ERA at home vs. 1-1 with a 2.75 ERA adds credence to that assertion.
My approach to this game is from a value perspective, as my model has the Braves no higher than a -130 favorite. The thought of catching the Mets as underdogs in their own park is just too good to pass up.
If this game ends up being a low-scoring game, I’d prefer to have the New York’s bullpen with its 3.48 ERA compared to Atlanta and its 4.49 ERA.
The Mets might also be more suited to win this type of game given that they’ve had to change their approach offensively, considering the number of hitters they have injured at the moment.
I like their chances of handling the conditions much better than Atlanta, and history shows they have a knack for doing just that.
Since 2005, the Mets are 57-35-1 (+12.25 units) in home games with winds at 14 mph or more.
That should somewhat help neutralize this Braves team that likes to aim for the fences. Atlanta leads the league with 80 home runs this season. The swirling winds could trouble the Braves just enough to allow the Mets to eke out a victory.
Pick: Mets ML (+135)