Mets vs. Braves MLB Betting Odds & Pick: New York Owns Key Advantage (Monday, May 17)
Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Taijuan Walker.
- The New York Mets will take on the Atlanta Braves in an NL East showdown on Monday night.
- The Mets' Taijuan Walker has been the team's biggest offseason acquisition even with Francisco Lindor sitting on the lineup card, but can he take down Max Fried and the Braves?
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the game and shares a pick and prediction based on his analysis below.
Mets vs. Braves Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
The Mets were on fire, winning seven straight games before a rough trip to Tampa Bay. New York suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays but remain in first place in the NL East.
Atlanta has continued its inconsistent play all season but has won three of its last four series. It enters Monday two games behind New York in the NL East standings and will have a chance to take the division lead with a three-game series in Atlanta.
Taijuan Walker Continues to Prove Himself for Mets
Just like we expected, the biggest addition to the 2021 Mets has been prized offseason acquisition… Taijuan Walker. In his first season in New York, Walker would be the Mets’ best pitcher if it wasn’t for that Jacob deGrom fella.
The 28-year-old right-hander has been excellent this season and is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in seven starts, while opponents are batting just .170 off him. In his last two starts, he allowed no runs over seven innings against St. Louis and one run in seven innings against Baltimore.
After just a month into the season, New York fired hitting coach Chili Davis and assistant hitting coach Tom Slater. The Mets offense ranks 27th in the league in runs per game. They sit 17th in batting average, 24th in OPS, and 20th in wOBA and wRC+.
While the Walker acquisition has paid off so far, the Francisco Lindor one has yet to. The prized shortstop is batting just .190 this season and has five extra-base hits and eight RBIs in 33 games.
J.D. Davis (.390 average, .466 wOBA) and Brandon Nimmo (.318 average, .388 wOBA) have been the Mets’ best hitters on the season, but they have both been out since May 1 with injuries. To make matters worse, both Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil left Sunday’s game and are questionable Monday.
Max Fried Getting Back to Form
After spending three weeks on the injured list, Braves opening day starter Max Fried is back to 100% after suffering a hamstring strain. Fried was fantastic last season, going 7-0 in 11 starts with a 2.25 ERA.
Fried got off to a tough start this season, allowing 14 runs in 11 innings during his first three starts for an 11.45 ERA. Since returning from injury, he has looked much more like the pitcher the Braves saw last season. In his last two outings, Fried has allowed just two runs over 11 innings and has an ERA of 1.64 since returning.
The hot-and-cold Braves bats are 10th in the league in scoring. They have relied on the deep ball and are 20th in batting average. However, they also rank sixth in wOBA while leading the league with 59 home runs this season.
Ronald Acuña Jr. is tied for the league lead with 12 home runs and last year’s MVP Freddie Freeman is one back with 11 despite batting just .222 on the season.
Acuña has not started the last three games for the Braves due to an ankle injury, but he did pinch-hit late in Sunday’s game. Even if he is able to play Monday, he won’t be 100% as he deals with the injury.
Despite the Mets’ offensive troubles this season, they have hit left-handed pitching very well all year. They rank eighth in the league with a .330 wOBA and 113 wRC+ against southpaws.
The Braves have been live-and-die with the long ball this season, capable of scoring runs in a hurry but struggling to consistently get runners on base. Walker has done a great job keeping the ball in the park, allowing just one home run all season.
The biggest advantage for the Mets here is in the bullpen. I know that sounds crazy. In recent history, the words “Mets bullpen” and “advantage” would never be in the same sentence unless “does not have the” was written in between them.
Well, the New York relievers rank fifth in the league this season with a 3.81 xFIP and a combined 8-4 record when it comes down to them. Atlanta’s bullpen has been miserable, ranking 24th in xFIP and combining for a 6-11 record.
Fried has been much better since returning from the injured list but has lasted six innings just once this year, and has yet to pitch into the seventh. Meanwhile, Walker has completed seven frames in three of his last four starts.
I think there’s value on the Mets in this spot as an underdog, in a game featuring two solid pitchers that likely comes down the bullpens.
Pick: New York Mets +132 (Play to +110)