New York Mets (75-80) at Atlanta Braves (76-78)
Sunday, September 21 - 1:35 PM EST
Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia
Jacob deGrom has two starts left to state his case for National League Rookie of the Year, but the right-hander will be hard-pressed to top his last effort when his New York Mets visit the Atlanta Braves on Sunday. The 26-year-old deGrom struck out the first eight hitters he faced – tying Jim Deshaies’ modern day major-league record set in 1986 – in racking up 13 strikeouts against Miami on Monday, and he aims to lead the Mets to a three-game sweep of the fading Braves. Atlanta lost for the seventh time in eight games Saturday, falling 4-2 to remain seven games out of the final NL wild-card spot with only eight games remaining.
The Braves are limping to the finish in more ways than one, as right fielder Jason Heyward missed his second consecutive game Saturday with a bruised left thumb and starter Mike Minor exited after just one inning with left shoulder discomfort. Atlanta has scored 13 runs in its past eight games and has been shut out in 64 of its past 73 innings. New York hopes rookie Dilson Herrera can play after he strained his right quadriceps in the sixth inning Saturday.
TV: 1:35 p.m. ET, SNY (New York), FSN South (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Jacob deGrom (8-6, 2.68 ERA) vs. Braves RH Ervin Santana (14-9, 3.74)
In the last 14 games, deGrom has been dominant while going 8-2 with a 1.93 ERA and he recorded 11-plus strikeouts three times in his first 21 career starts. One of those 11-strikeout efforts came against the Braves at home on July 8 with deGrom getting the victory by tossing seven shutout innings. The Florida native did not allow an earned run in three consecutive starts, a streak that ended when he gave up three against Miami while receiving a no-decision Monday.
Santana has lost his past two starts but deserved a far better fate Monday against Washington after allowing only two runs on three hits in six innings. He went 6-0 in a seven-start stretch from July 18-Aug. 18, but is 1-3 with a no-decision in his past five outings. Santana is 2-1 in three starts against the Mets this season with a 2.05 ERA, only four walks and 17 strikeouts in 22 innings.
1. New York INF Wilmer Flores is batting .393 during his seven-game hitting streak.
2. The Braves are 4-13 in September, and any combination of Pittsburgh victories and Atlanta losses equaling two eliminates the Braves from the wild-card race.
3. New York closer Jenrry Mejia is 27-for-30 in save opportunities.
PREDICTION: Mets 3, Braves 1