Sunday MLB Betting Preview – Braves at Mets

The two division rivals have been involved in low-scoring affairs the last nine meetings.

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

Atlanta has pushed its lead in the NL East standings to six games with its current five-game winning streak after shutting out the New York Mets 3-0 at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.  “It’s good to be in first place going into the break,” said manager Bobby Cox.   The Braves are now a season-high 17 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2005 season.  The latest win pushed its daytime record to 18-11 this season (+660) and the total moving to 16-13 O/U with just four runs posted on the scoreboard.  Atlanta is averaging 5.6 runs per game offensively while holding teams to 4.2 runs with a combined .238 average.  The club is 17-14 versus the division this season (+10), but a dominating 13-3 in their past 16 meetings.

Braves starting pitcher Derek Lowe is 9-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 18 starts this season (+60), with the club dropping his last three outings.  Atlanta’s offense has been able to provide just three runs of support over that time, as the right-hander has allowed six earned runs and 19 hits over 19.2 innings.  He brings a 3-4 record and 4.75 ERA in nine road starts, allowing opponents to bat for a combined .276 average.  Lowe is a perfect 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA in five daytime starts, issuing just nine walks and surrendering 28 hits in 32 frames.  In 14 career appearances (eight starts) against the Braves, he has compiled a 3-4 mark and 7.01 ERA (+50).

New York has scored just two runs in the first two games of this series and lost shortstop Jose Reyes for the series finale with a sore right side.  “I tried to play through it,” Reyes said.  The team knows it will need a healthy Reyes to have any chance to close the current five-game gap in the second half.  “If coming out is what he needs to rest, then so be it,” says catcher Rod Barajas.  The Mets are now 6-10 over their last 16 games and have lost three straight at home for the first time this season.  The club is still a solid 29-16 overall at home in 2010 (+1,040) and 118-89 over the last three years (+580).  New York is 7-6 overall on Sundays this year (-10), but have won six of its last seven.

Mets starting pitcher Johan Santana is 6-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 18 starts this season and is coming off a 3-0 shutout victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Citi Field.  In that start, the left-hander scattered three hits and struck out five.  Before that start, the Mets offense was able to provide Santana just a run of support in dropping three straight games.  He is a solid 5-3 with a 3.13 ERA in nine home starts and 13-6 with a 2.70 ERA in 23 lifetime starts at Citi Field.  In nine career outings versus the Braves, he has compiled a 1-5 record despite carrying a 2.25 ERA (-880).  He picked up his only win against the Braves on July 18, 2009, tossing seven shutout innings in a 5-1 victory.

Bettors must be cautious in playing the Mets in this contest due to the team posting a 1-6 mark in Santana’s last seven starts versus the Braves.  This becomes an even riskier wager with the team losing his last five outings against the division.  Atlanta is no better against the NL East with Lowe on the hill, dropping six of seven.  The under is a streaking 9-0 in the last nine meetings between the two rivals, including 7-0 in New York.

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