Only one night game is on the schedule in Major League Baseball today and it features division rivals as the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets participate in ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. We’ve got a strong pitching matchup here between Max Fried and Jacob deGrom and we actually have a total of 5.5 out there in several places.
The Mets are a small favorite with their watered-down lineup, as deGrom might be one of the better hitters on the manager’s lineup card tonight. The Mets are in the -125 range at Jazz Sports as they look to build off of the momentum of Saturday’s lopsided victory.
The Atlanta Braves lost Marcell Ozuna to injury a few days ago, but may very well have lost Ozuna to the legal system now. News broke on Saturday that Ozuna had been arrested and charged with aggravated assault strangulation and misdemeanor battery. The alleged victim was his wife and now his fate lies with prosecutors and the justice system.
It seems cold and callous to talk about such serious charges in a betting context, but this is a betting site, so it bears mentioning. Ozuna had just been placed on the IL on Friday for a finger injury. He had been struggling offensively anyway with a .213/.288/.356 slash over 208 plate appearances, but was such a key cog in Atlanta’s lineup last season with a .338/.431/.636 slash.
Fortunately, Atlanta has a lot of other hitters that can pick up the slack and some have, like Austin Riley and increased numbers from Ronald Acuna Jr. The Braves have needed every bit of that offensive prowess because the pitching staff has not performed up to its capabilities so far this season.
Injuries have also played a role on that side. Mike Soroka remains out and will be re-checked in June coming off of his torn Achilles. Huascar Ynoa punched a locker and broke his hand. Sunday’s starter, Max Fried, has been limited to seven starts and they haven’t been his best work with a 4.63 ERA and a 4.12 FIP. Fried has had some walk issues and hasn’t had his best command, but he’s only allowed four runs on 15 hits in his last 22 innings of work.
New York Mets
Another ace limited to seven starts this season is Jacob deGrom. The Mets right-hander is making his second start since returning from the IL for a side muscle injury. deGrom struck out nine Rockies over five innings in his May 25 start. For the season, deGrom has struck out 74 and only walked seven in his 45 innings of work. He’s given up a total of four earned runs on just 20 hits.
He’s been virtually unhittable this season, but does not have one of the league’s no-hitters, at least not yet. He probably won’t get it today against a high-caliber Braves offense, but it stands to reason that deGrom will pitch well again. The question is whether or not he’ll get any run support. Based on the total, that answer is no. He’s gotten 15 runs of support in seven starts while he’s been on the mound. He got 49 in 12 starts covering 68 innings last season.
The Mets offense had a huge breakout day against Ian Anderson on Saturday, which came as a bit of a shock given how well Anderson had been pitching. Any offensive outburst is very surprising for the Mets right now. New York is missing Pete Alonso, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, Michael Conforto, and Brandon Nimmo from the lineup, as well as part-timers and role players like Luis Guillorme, Albert Almora Jr., and Kevin Pillar.
Even when all of those guys were in the lineup, the Mets still weren’t hitting much. The Mets rank 24th in wOBA for the season and have one of the league’s lowest slugging percentages.
Braves vs. Mets Free Pick
The last time we saw a total of 5.5 in a nine-inning game was June 10, 2016 when Clayton Kershaw and Johnny Cueto got together at then AT&T Park. The game ended 3-2 with a Dodgers win. This is a historically low total and you simply have to look at the over in a situation like this. deGrom will probably be stingy, but the Braves will join the Red Sox as the best offenses that deGrom has faced. Fried has not been overly sharp this season, though he has pitched better lately. We’re just playing against a historical outlier.
Pick: Over 5.5