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Braves must find a way to deal with Jacob deGrom and the Mets

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Jacob deGrom is off to a hot start to this season. If the Braves are going to have a chance, they can’t let him get rolling.

MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports

After picking up a thrilling victory in Mike Soroka’s debut, the Braves are looking to keep up their winning ways against the Mets in the second game of a mid-week series up there at Citi Field.

Although the Braves did a great job of hitting against Noah Syndergaard last night, things aren’t going to get any easier tonight since the Mets are sending Jacob deGrom to the mound this evening. deGrom has already gotten off to a great start so far this season and the Braves saw it for themselves back on March 21. That was when deGrom went into SunTrust Park and threw seven scoreless innings while striking out 10 and only walking two batters. If not for some late-game heroics against New York’s bullpen, that would have been another win in the bank for the Mets.

It sure would be nice to see the Braves not have to wait until the late stage of the game and find a way to get to deGrom while he’s on the mound. Of course, that task is easier said than done. deGrom hasn’t given up a run since his April 16 start against the Nationals, so he is in some kind of groove right now and the numbers bear that out as well — he’s currently sporting a 2.06 ERA and a 2.30 FIP after the first month of play.

Freddie Freeman, Nick Markakis and Ender Inciarte have the most experience against deGrom and Markakis is even battting .280 with a homer over 26 plate appearances against him. Still, if they’re going to get to deGrom tonight in his own home park, then it’ll take some great at-bats in order to topple him with the way he’s pitching right now.

On the other side of things, Sean Newcomb will be on the bump for the Braves and as usual, the main boogeyman that Newcomb must avoid is the walk monster. Newcomb handed out three walks in his most recent outing and two of those walks ended up being extremely costly as they led to a four-run inning for the Reds and his exit from the game. The one time Newcomb kept the walks down to zero was when we saw him have what was by far his best outing of the season against Colorado. So it’s definitely possible for Newcomb to throw a clean game and perhaps it’ll be key to the Braves’ chances to success if the hitters end up having a rough go of it against deGrom tonight.

Fortunately, none of the current Mets have a sparkling resume against Newcomb so far. Granted, the only Mets batter who has more than 10 plate appearances against him is Asdrubal Cabrera and he’s fared pretty well against him. Still, you have to figure that things like Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier both not having a hit against Newcomb so far probably won’t last and it’ll be key for Newcomb to keep them limited and off of the basepaths.

I’d imagine that we’re probably going to be in for another close game. The Braves and Mets have played each other four times now and three out of the four have been pretty close. If Jacob deGrom is still in his excellent vein of form and Sean Newcomb can avoid walking people then we’re likely going to have a pitcher’s duel on our hands. A blowout in either direction would be a bit of a shock, so this should definitely be a fun and entertaining game tonight in New York.

Game Info

Game Date/Time: Wednesday, May 2, 7:10 PM ET

Location: Citi Field, Queens, NY

TV: Fox Sports Southeast


Radio: 680 AM / 93.7 FM, WYAY 106.7, Braves Radio Network