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Braves return home for a division matchup against the Mets

Atlanta is coming off of a series win in Arizona.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Mets Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After a 3-3 road trip, the Atlanta Braves will return home to begin a six-game home stand with a three-game series against the New York Mets. On the surface a 3-3 road trip may seem pedestrian. Atlanta dropped two of three to an Oakland A’s team that entered the series having lost 11-straight games. However, they rebounded well with a series win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are among the best teams in the National League.

The Braves enter Friday’s series opener with a 35-24 record and a 3.5 game lead over the Miami Marlins in the division. Atlanta’s +63 run differential leads the National League. AJ Smith-Shawver made his major league debut Sunday with 2 1/3 scoreless innings and appears poised to join the rotation after Michael Soroka was optioned back to Gwinnett Monday. Ronald Acuña Jr continued his MVP pace and he and teammate Sean Murphy are currently first and second in the National League in fWAR. Acuña hit his 12th home run of the season Saturday and currently leads the NL with 26 stolen bases. Atlanta took two of three from the Mets in New York in the first meeting between the two teams this season.

The Mets come into the series reeling after they were swept by the Blue Jays at home in a three-game series. New York is 30-30 on the season and will enter Tuesday’s series opener 5.5 games back of the Braves in the NL East standings. The Mets have been hampered by injuries to their starting rotation and an inconsistent offense. Pete Alonso leads the majors with 21 home runs, but has slumped of late. Francisco Lindor is 3-for-32 at the plate over his last eight games and is hitting .213/.284/.404 with a 92 wRC+ for the season.

Tuesday, June 6, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South, TBS)

Bryce Elder (11 GS, 65.2 IP, 21.1 K%, 7.2 BB%, 57.6 GB%, 1.92 ERA, 3.42 FIP)

Bryce Elder has been the unsung hero of Atlanta’s starting rotation and will get the call again in Tuesday’s series opener. Elder was excellent in his last start allowing five hits and one run, to go along with five strikeouts in a season-high 7 1/3 innings in Oakland. Elder has faced the Mets just one other time in his brief career making a relief appearance last season where he allowed five hits and three runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Carlos Carrasco (6 GS, 31.1 IP, 13.9 K%, 9.5 BB%, 48.0 GB%, 5.74 ERA, 6.09 FIP)

Veteran right-hander Carlos Carrasco will make his seventh start of the season opposite Elder in Friday’s series opener. Carrasco spent a stretch on the injured list due to bone chips in his elbow. He returned to the rotation on May 19 and allowed five runs in five innings. Since then, he has allowed just two runs combined over his last two starts (12.2 innings) against the Cubs and the Phillies.

Wednesday, June 7, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South)

Charlie Morton (11 GS, 64.2 IP, 25.3 K%, 9.1 BB%, 48.1 GB%, 3.62 ERA, 3.56 FIP)

Charlie Morton will get the ball for Atlanta in Wednesday’s game. Morton pitched well, but took the loss in his last outing in Arizona. He allowed seven hits, four walks and three runs to go along with nine strikeouts over seven innings. That was the second straight game that Morton has totaled nine strikeouts and he has 33 over his last four starts combined.

Max Scherzer (9 GS, 47.2 IP, 25.3 K%, 7.4 BB%, 31.0 GB%, 3.21 ERA, 4.12 FIP)

Max Scherzer will make his 10th start of the season for the Mets on Wednesday and after an uncharacteristic start, is starting to look like the pitcher that many expected. Scherzer allowed five hits and two runs (one earned) over seven innings in his last start against the Phillies. He has allowed a total of three earned runs over his last four starts combined. Scherzer is no stranger to the Braves having faced them plenty of times over the course of his career. He has a career 3.77 ERA and 217 strikeouts in 183 2/3 innings against Atlanta.

Thursday, June 8, 7:20 p.m. ET (Bally Sports South, MLB Network)

Spencer Strider (12 GS, 69.2 IP, 40.6 K%, 9.4 BB%, 32.4 GB%, 2.97 ERA, 2.60 FIP)

Spencer Strider will get the start for the Braves in Thursday’s series finale. Strider leads the majors with 113 strikeouts and is one of the leading early candidates for the NL Cy Young Award. He allowed three hits and two runs over six innings in his last start against the Diamondbacks. He logged seven more strikeouts and has at least seven K’s in all 12 of his starts the season. Strider faced the Mets back on May 1 and allowed five hits, four runs and struck out eight in five innings.

Justin Verlander (6 GS 36.0 IP, 20.5 K%, 6.2 BB%, 38.3 GB%, 4.25 ERA, 4.53 FIP)

Veteran right-hander Justin Verlander will start the finale for the Mets. Verlander began the season on the injured list and hasn’t rounded his way into form yet. He’s alternated good and bad starts over his last four outings allowing just one run in two starts and 12 runs in the other two. He allowed five hits and one run in six innings in his last start against the Blue Jays. Verlander has faced the Braves three times in his career allowing six runs over 21 innings. He hasn’t faced Atlanta since the 2016 season.

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