1 early Braves weakness for the Mets to exploit if they want to win

The early bird catches the worm and the early to act bat seizes a victory.
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves
Arizona Diamondbacks v Atlanta Braves / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The Atlanta Braves are built like the Death Star. Even that hunk of planetary-sized machinery had a weakness to exploit. The New York Mets, up against an Evil Empire on the road this week, will need every advantage they can get.

So what is the weakness of the Braves? They have the best batting average and OPS in MLB. The starting pitching staff is fifth in strikeouts per 9. The bullpen ERA is also fifth.

Where the Mets can win or lose this series is how they handle themselves in those early innings. In particular, the Mets need to score often and early.

Beat the Braves starting pitchers and the Mets can muster up some wins in Atlanta

The Braves have given up 13 first inning runs in their 8 games. Of them, 9 have been charged to Max Fried. The Mets won’t get a chance to target that Atlanta weakness until later in the series. But if the trend of Fried misfiring continues, the Mets can set themselves up well for later in the series by doing some damage early and often against the starters they face first.

Charlie Morton and Reynaldo Lopez get the ball for Atlanta to begin the series with a TBD in there for the start originally projected for Spencer Strider. Bryce Elder is a good guess and if it is him, let’s welcome him early with the crack of a bat.

Morton and Lopez have combined to give up only 1 earned run in 11.2 innings of work. An exceptional start to their seasons, neither is unbeatable. Morton is 40 albeit still effective and Lopez has transitioned back into a starter’s role. The Mets need to make it difficult on them. Brian Snitker can turn to his bullpen for the final three or four innings without breaking a sweat. Remind Morton of his age. Get to Lopez early enough where he wishes he was back in the bullpen.

The Braves have only one reliever with an ERA over 2.25, lefty Aaron Bummer. The staff is fully-loaded with lefties with half of them being southpaws. Tyrone Taylor better keep limber for a pinch hitting appearance late.

Making things much more difficult for the Mets is the fact that the Braves have two pitchers who can give them multiple innings rather easily. Dylan Lee and Jesse Chavez are the pair who can allow the Braves to survive if the starter is chased early. They also have recently recalled pitcher Allan Winans who back in 2021 was taken from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft to help put a bandage on any bleeding the Mets may cause.

Scoring in the first inning hasn’t been a strength of the Mets. Only in Sunday’s finale against the Cincinnati Reds were they able to cross the plate before a third out was recorded against them.

Knocking around the starting pitcher in the first inning is usually a good way to get a win. As much as we’re not looking forward to seeing the Braves relievers, overworking them could go a long way. Momentum has finally shifted for the Mets. Let’s not leave it in Cincinnati.