Braves vs. Mets Odds
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday morning via Bet365.|
If the New York Mets get a bit tired of seeing the Atlanta Braves this week, you can understand why. After Thursday’s finale, New York will have faced Atlanta five times in four days due to a makeup game. On Tuesday, the Mets suffered a 12-5 loss, with Jerad Eickhoff getting a spot start.
The good news for New York fans is the team doesn’t see Eickhoff as a long-term solution. However, Wednesday’s starter — Tylor Megill — could be just that for the Mets as the 6-foot-7 rookie has pitched to a 2.10 ERA in six starts for the club.
Opposing Megill on the mound will be Atlanta southpaw Max Fried.
I’m excited to preview this matchup, because I haven’t gotten a chance to really see Megill in action since he was called up. However, what I’ve noticed is he seems to be getting plenty of respect from bookmakers and bettors alike.
Let’s take a look and find out why.
Philadelphia Pitcher Fried Looking Regain Old Form
Fried enters this game at 7-6, with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. There’s certainly been a dip in his form when you consider he went 17-6 with a 4.02 ERA in 2019. And in 2020, he was 7-0 with a 2.25 ERA. A closer look at his advanced numbers this year does suggest he’s been a bit unlucky. His 3.92 FIP and 3.90xFIP are all at least a half run lower than his ERA.
I noticed straight away his walks and home runs per nine innings are up compared to last year. His BB/9 is up from 3.05 to 3.19, plus his HR/9 is up 0.32 to 1.06. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily say those numbers are awful, but they support the assertion of a slight drop in standards.
One possible explanation for the increase in home runs could be his decrease in ground balls. Fried’s 1.56 GB/FB rate is the lowest of his career. In fact, if we look at the seasons where he’s made at least 10 starts, his GB/FB has consistently declined in each season since 2018 (2.53 GB/FB).
It’s possible to see a change in a pitcher’s ground ball rate if they change approach due to pitching in a new ballpark or no longer using the same mix of pitches.
However, that doesn’t really apply to Fried. Although he added a slider to his repertoire in 2019, his pitch arsenal has remained the same since then.
In addition to the slider (24.1%), Fried also throws a four-seamer (38.7%), curveball (24.3%), sinker (11.6%) and changeup (1.3%). By having four pitches that he throws at least 10% of the time, he’s been able to reduce the usage of his four-seamer by almost 20% since his rookie season.
Yet, he might want to reduce it even more, as it’s the only pitch where opposing hitters are batting more than .300 against him.
Six of Fried’s 10 home runs allowed this season have come off his fastball. He’s actually improved his velocity over the years, and it’s fair to wonder if that’s led to some location issues in the strike zone.
New York’s Megill Showing Signs of Becoming Standout
I mentioned in my opening that Megill has gotten a decent amount of respect at the betting window. In his first career start, he was bet up from -110 to -145 odds. In both his starts as a plus-money underdog, the line moved in his favor and he’s even closed as high as a -232 favorite.
The Mets have been careful with him to ensure that he’s not overexposed. They’ve been proactive in getting him out of games early enough before any major signs of trouble to keep his confidence intact.
However, his last two performances might suggest that it’s time to take the training wheels off.
Megill not only went six innings in each of his last two starts, but he also didn’t surrender a run in either outing. One of those starts was against a powerful Toronto Blue Jays lineup that leads baseball with a .456 slugging percentage. In July, Megill’s allowed two runs in 20 2/3 innings of work. He’s only 1-0 on the year, but the Mets will certainly be pleased with his 2.10 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
Collectively, his advanced numbers don’t point to anything untoward given his 2.16 xERA and 3.35 FIP. He’s striking out 9.9 batters per nine innings and has a 0.90 HR/9 ratio. Megill is also limiting opposing hitters to a .207 average at the plate. I guess if you had to be picky, you might harp on his 3.0 BB/9 ratio. However, that’s not the worst we’ve seen even for quality veterans, so I think the rookie deserves some high marks here as well.
The more you dig, the clearer it becomes why Megill is succeeding thus far at the major league level.
He already has a four-pitch arsenal via a four-seamer (58.1%), slider (21.1%), changeup (18.5%), and curveball (2.3%). Even if you discard the curveball, he still has three pitches he’s throwing at least 18% of the time.
His usage of the three dominant pitches suggests that he has a good feel and command of them. It also suggests that he can throw either in any pitch count.
Megill’s first two career starts were against the Braves. Though he didn’t factor in the decision, the Mets did win both of those games. Atlanta’s lineup has 25 at-bats against him, with a .240/.296/.360 slash line and a .120 ISO.
The Mets’ numbers against Fried are a bit better in their 109 at-bats. They have a .248/.352/.404 slash line with a .156 ISO. Those numbers are also slightly better than their splits against left-handers (.242/.322/.390).
New York is 5-1 in Megill’s starts, but it really should be 6-0 because the only loss came after blowing a 6-0 lead in the eighth inning to lose 9-7 against Pittsburgh.
Given those performances, they should take the field with a decent amount of confidence. Yet, here are some things that could work in their favor as well:
- New York is 14-7 for 6.18 units coming off a game where it allowed 12 runs
- The Mets are 8-2 (+7.08 units) when the face a left-hander following a game which they allowed 12 runs
Lastly, the Mets are a perfect 6-0 with odds at -110 or higher when they face a left-hander following a game in which they allowed 12 runs.
All of those trends are active in this showdown.
I am slightly worried that this will be Atlanta’s third time seeing Megill, though. As a result, I’ll limit my action to a half-unit at Bet365, so that I can at least have a little bit of a sweat.
Pick: Mets ML (-125)
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