Although the baseball season technically begins on Thursday, the majority of teams open up their new campaign on Friday. That includes the Atlanta Braves and the New York Mets, two heated rivals in the NL East who will each be sending their aces to the mound in hopes of a win.
Here is a preview for Friday afternoon’s matchup, along with a free pick courtesy of Gameadvisers. As of Tuesday morning, odds have yet to be published.
The defending division champion Braves are excited about the 2020 season. Led by a dynamic core on offense and a young pitching staff, Atlanta hopes to win the division and beyond over the 60-game season.
The star of the Braves is CF Ronald Acuña Jr., a legitimate MVP threat entering his third year in the bigs. 2B Ozzie Albies is also one of the top players at his position at a young age. 1B Freddie Freeman is as steady as they come, while new acquisition LF Marcell Ozuna will provide another bat to this potent lineup. Look pretty for 3B Austin Riley and SS Dansby Swanson to play a role for Atlanta this season as well.
On the mound for the Braves will be Mike Soroka. The 22-year old had a breakout 2019, going 13-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 142 strikeouts in 174 innings. The big righty is hoping to build off of last season’s success and become a true ace.
Although the Mets just missed out on a postseason berth last season, expectations are high for them in 2020. New York has one of their deepest lineups in years, along with a two-time Cy Young winner anchoring the rotation. They are pushing for their first playoff appearance since their World Series run in 2015.
Last year’s Rookie of the Year, 1B Pete Alonso, is back and ready to prove that 2019 was no fluke. Joining the powerful Alonso is RF Michael Comforto and 3B Jeff McNeil, each of whom are coming off very solid seasons, along with the surprising LF J.D. Davis. Veteran 2B Robinson Cano is a steady presence, while oft-injured DH Yoenis Cespedes will return after missing all of last season.
Jacob deGrom will draw the Opening Day start for the Mets once again. The reigning Cy Young winner for the last two years went just 11-8 in 2019, but also had a 2.43 ERA and 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. The 32-year old deGrom is one of the best pitchers in baseball who can go up against any lineup.
The big name to keep any eye on for the Braves is Freeman, who just finished a battle with COVID-19. Fortunately, Freeman has returned and played in several intrasquad games, most recently on Monday. As of now, it appears he’s ready to roll for Friday. Others to watch include RP Will Smith and 3B Johan Camargo. Smith, along with Freeman, tested positive for the virus and has yet to leave the IL, while Camargo suffered a hamstring injury over the weekend to leave his availability in doubt.
As for the Mets, deGrom suffered a very mild back strain a few days ago, but no damage was done and he should be okay for Friday. Aside from their starting pitcher, C Wilson Ramos is currently dealing with a personal matter but aims to be back before the season starts, while backup OF Jake Marisnick is currently day-to-day with left hamstring tightness.
Atlanta has always had struggles with deGrom, with no full-time member of the lineup managing a batting average of over .250 against him in their careers. Meanwhile, Alonso, Cano and Cespedes have all homered against Soroka. Typically, it’s a smart bet to go with the better pitcher, so I think deGrom gets the Mets off to a fast start.
Head to our 2 favorite pay per head bookie sites at https://www.vegastopdogs.com/articles/Making-Money-has-never-been-easier.cfm or A1pph.com and bet the Mets.