Who would you say belongs on a list of “Must See Pitchers”? Randy Johnson? Sandy Koufax? Greg Maddux? Pedro Martinez? Nolan Ryan? Tom Seaver? Who would make the cut for you?

If your list doesn’t include Jacob deGrom, then your list is wrong. deGrom is having maybe the most dominant stretch in MLB history and he’ll look to put another notch in the proverbial belt with this Thursday July 1 start against the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets are a -165 favorite at BetOnline Sportsbook with a total of 6.5 for a nine-inning game. Ian Anderson will get the nod for the Braves and have a very small margin for error against the planet’s best pitcher.

New York Mets

The Mets are starting to get some position players back and have to hope that they’ve weathered all of the adversity that they need to deal with this season. For several weeks, the Mets were missing Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, JD Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Kevin Pillar, among others.

Davis and Nimmo remain out, but the lineup looks a lot better with four of those players back and also with the resurgent Francisco Lindor, who has officially shaken off his slow start to the season and has been the player that the Mets expected to get when they signed him to a contract worth over $300 million.

Overall, New York’s offense is still close to the bottom of the league, ranking well into the bottom third, but slightly above the bottom five. It will take some time to get those numbers up to a respectable place, but from a talent standpoint, the Mets certainly have a lot of it and should be able to put a dent in those early-season numbers as we go forward, so long as they stay healthy.

The nice thing is that even if it takes some time to generate more offense, the Mets don’t need a lot of run support for Jacob deGrom. Not like he gets any anyway, but deGrom has a 0.69 ERA and a 0.98 FIP, so he is plenty capable of holding his own. He’s also done well at the plate, but his pitching numbers are historic to say the least.

deGrom has 122 strikeouts in 78 innings of work to go up against just 11 walks. Somehow three guys have hit homers off of deGrom this season. They must have had a Will Ferrell in “Old School” sort of experience by blacking out when making contact, much like Frank The Tank did in the debate. deGrom is elite and we are witnessing history every time he pitches.

Atlanta Braves

This will be a good test for deGrom. The Braves offense entered play on Wednesday barely inside the top 10 in the wOBA department. The problem for Atlanta has been a lack of consistency. The Braves have bunched all of their runs together some nights and have gone dormant other nights.

Case in point, the Braves scored 20 runs on Wednesday night against the Mets. That’s what they do. They’ll hang a huge number and then fail to surpass that number over the next 4-5 games combined. It is really hard to know what you are going to get on a daily basis, though the presence of deGrom makes it a lot easier to figure out for that night.

That means that the onus is on Ian Anderson to pitch well enough to give his team a chance. The total of 6 suggests that he has a shot. Anderson has a 3.42 ERA with a 3.21 FIP in his 81.2 innings of work. It sure seems like a lot of the narrative about the Braves has been more about what they don’t have instead of what they do.

Yes, Mike Soroka had a setback and is out for the season. Yes, Max Fried has spent some time on the IL and struggled to get into the rhythm of the season. Yes, depth guys like Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have continued to have their issues. But, what about focusing on the good? Like Anderson, who has excellent numbers this season with a 26.1% K% and a GB% over 50%.

The Braves bullpen has been a major hindrance, too. A lot of guys have experienced spin rate decreases with the crackdown on substances and that unit just has not been effective in general. That will have to change if the Braves want to make some noise in this division.

Mets vs. Braves Free Pick

So, what do we do here? Do we lay the lumber with deGrom? Bet under 6.5? Over 6.5? Try the Braves as an underdog? The only play I see here is the last one. To try the Braves in a big underdog role. deGrom can’t be this sharp every night, can he? Anderson is plenty good enough to keep Atlanta in the game and the bullpens aren’t that far apart, at least from a talent standpoint. Sometimes the tough bets to make are the right ones.

Pick: Atlanta Braves