The Atlanta Braves return to SunTrust Park on Tuesday for a nine-game homestand, beginning with a three-game series against the red-hot New York Mets.
The Braves (70-50) had a 6 1/2 game lead over the Washington Nationals at presstime. The lead was eight games over the Mets (61-57) who have won 15 of their last 17 to claw their way back into the playoff race. New York is now one game out of the second wild card.
The trio of Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. have kept the Braves offense in high gear. Over the last week, Albies has hit .500 with three homers and seven RBIs and Freeman batted .429 with three homers and nine RBIs. However, both were eclipsed by Acuna who hit .419 with six homers, 10 RBIs and added three stolen bases.
The Mets have been led by first baseman Pete Alonzo, who is hitting .258 with 38 home runs and 85 RBIs, and Michael Conforto, who is at .261, 25 homers and 66 RBIs.
This is the fourth series of the season between the two teams. Atlanta currently holds a 6-4 lead in the season series, and will have the benefit of missing both New York aces, Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom.
Following the Mets series, the Braves will host the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Miami Marlins.
Max Fried (13-4, 4.11 ERA) will open the homestand looking for his fifth straight victory. Over his previous four starts, Fried has pitched 21 2/3 innings with an ERA of 3.32 and 25 strikeouts. He is expected to matchup against former East Paulding High School standout Zack Wheeler (9-6, 4.20). He has also won three straight games and has been dominant in doing so, allowing only three runs in his last 20 1/3 innings (1.32 ERA).
Dallas Keuchel (3-5, 4.83) will try to earn his first win in more than a month when he is expected to throw against Steven Matz (7-7, 4.49). Keuchel is coming off his worst outing of the season when he allowed eight runs and 10 hits last Thursday against the Miami Marlins.
Julio Teheran (7-7, 3.35) is scheduled to face Marcus Stroman (6-11, 3.20) in the finale.
ON THE AIR
All three games will air on Fox Sports Southeast and begin at 7 p.m. The games can also be heard on 680 AM The Fan and Rock 100.5 FM.