david peterson mets braves preview
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Initially, I thought the Mets would use their series against the Nationals earlier this week to pile up some wins before their first matchup of the year with the Braves. That unfortunately didn’t happen, but now there’s a clean slate.

This is the first matchup between New York and Atlanta since the Braves swept the Mets at Truist Park last September to overtake them for first place in the NL East. There’s a lot of season left to go, but it’d be nice for the Amazins to make a statement this weekend in Queens.

Here’s what the probable pitching matchups look like at the moment.

Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET: David Peterson vs. Max Fried

With Justin Verlander’s return to the big leagues imminent, David Peterson might be pitching for his rotation spot. He owns a 7.36 ERA and 1.64 WHIP through 25.2 innings. The southpaw has walked just one over his last 11 innings, but he’s also allowed 13 earned runs.

After finishing second in NL Cy Young voting in 2022, Braves ace Max Fried’s 2023 campaign is off to a fast start. He owns a 0.60 ERA and 0.93 WHIP through 15 innings. Fried went 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with 11 strikeouts in 12 innings against the Mets at Citi Field last year.

Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET: Tylor Megill vs. Spencer Strider

Verlander’s impending return probably also means Tylor Megill will be trying to justify remaining in the Mets’ rotation. He owns a 3.96 ERA through five starts but hasn’t looked as great during his last two turns on the mound. Megill has tossed nine innings during this time, leading to seven earned runs, 13 hits, and five walks allowed.

Spencer Strider was just a handful of outs away from a perfect game in his last start. He instead settled for allowing two hits with 13 strikeouts over eight shutout innings. This will be his second career start at Citi Field. The first one happened last year — Strider lasted just 2.2 innings while allowing four runs on six hits, two walks, and five strikeouts.

Sunday at 1:40 p.m. ET: Jose Butto vs. Charlie Morton

Jose Butto has a 2.79 ERA through two starts. That’s good, but it’s also been against the Oakland Athletics and Washington Nationals. Through 9.2 innings pitched, he’s also walked 10 hitters while striking out three. So, yea — I’m not feeling too confident about him having to deal with the Braves lineup.

Charlie Morton has thrown five-plus innings in each of his five starts. That includes at least six innings over his last three appearances. His last start was his best of the year, as well. The right-hander tossed seven innings of one-run ball while allowing three hits, two walks, and nine strikeouts in a win against the Miami Marlins. New York did rough him up in four starts last year, as Morton produced a 4.98 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 21.2 innings.

Monday at 1:10 p.m. ET: Max Scherzer vs. Bryce Elder

Max Scherzer is eligible to return from his suspension on Monday, so I’d imagine this game will be his. The right-hander has spent lots of time pitching in the NL East, so he’s accumulated about a full season’s worth of experience against the Braves. In 183.2 innings, Scherzer is 13-10 with a 3.77 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. His ERA settled in at 3.12 across 26 innings against Atlanta last year.

Bryce Elder has a 2.17 ERA through 29 innings of work, but his “worst” start of the year happened his last time out. He allowed four runs on five hits, two walks, and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings against the Marlins. He got the no-decision but Atlanta still won, 6-4.

You can reach Matt Musico at matt.musico@xlmedia.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.