Jacob deGrom makes his 30th start of the season for the New York Mets on Saturday night against the host Atlanta Braves, and they can only wonder what could have been if the rest of the starting rotation had remained as healthy. The Mets hoped to contend for the National League East title in 2017 until their season crumbled due to a rash of injuries, and they enter the middle contest of this weekend’s series against the Braves 21 games under .500 with losses in five straight.
One positive for the Mets is the play of infielder Asdrubal Cabrera, who extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 3-for-3 performance in Friday’s 3-2 loss in the series opener. Braves rookie second baseman Ozzie Albies extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a double in the first inning to help Atlanta open its nine-game homestand with a victory. Center fielder Ender Inciarte recorded his 188th hit of the season - the most by an Atlanta player since Jeff Francoeur in 2007 - and he is 12 shy of becoming the first Brave to reach 200 since Marquis Grissom in 1996. Atlanta has won seven of its past nine games but lost left fielder Matt Kemp to a strained left hamstring after four innings Friday.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, WPIX (New York), FSN South (Atlanta)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mets RH Jacob deGrom (14-9, 3.63 ERA) vs. Braves RH R.A. Dickey (9-9, 4.28)
DeGrom’s streak of 20 consecutive starts with a decision ended Sunday against Cincinnati, as he gave up two runs across six innings while fanning 10 for his 10th double-digit strikeout game of the season. The 29-year-old started the weekend second in the NL with a career-best 221 strikeouts but has surrendered five runs or more in three of his past six outings. DeGrom is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA in two starts against the Braves this season and is 4-3 in 10 career starts against Atlanta with a 2.29 ERA.
Dickey has won just once in his past five starts as the 42-year-old looks to reach double-figures in victories for the sixth consecutive season. He has struggled in his first two September starts, posting a 10.61 ERA with 12 runs on 14 hits allowed in just 9 1/3 innings, after going 3-1 with a 3.55 ERA in five August outings. Dickey, who won 39 games with the Mets from 2010-12, has won both starts this season against his former team with a 4.09 ERA.
1. Atlanta rookie 3B Rio Ruiz, who hit .175 in 31 games in May and June, is batting .293 in September after recording two hits Friday.
2. New York SS Amed Rosario did not play with a right hip flexor injury suffered Thursday in Chicago that may sideline him for the rest of the series.
3. Atlanta C Tyler Flowers (bruised left hand) likely will miss the weekend after being hit with a pitch Wednesday at Washington.
PREDICTION: Mets 5, Braves 2