Big week for Braves vs. NL’s two hottest teams since All-Star break

The Braves this week will face the teams with the National League’s two best records since the All-Star break, the teams with the NL’s two best ERAs since the All-Star break and the teams that rank in the NL’s top two in home runs since the break.

The New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers are all of the above and will visit SunTrust Park for back-to-back series.

The Braves open a three-game series against the revitalized Mets on Tuesday night, followed by a three-game series against the defending NL champion Dodgers beginning Friday night.

Since the All-Star break, the Mets are 21-7, the best record in the NL (the best in MLB, for that matter) in that period. That stretch has allowed the Mets to climb from 13-1/2 games behind the Braves in the NL East at the break to a still-distant eight games behind them entering this week’s series. The Mets have 15 wins in their past 17 games and eight in their past nine.

The Dodgers are 19-9 since the All-Star break, the second-best record in the NL over that period, and continue to run away with the NL West. For the season, the Dodgers’ 79-41 record is MLB’s best.

The Mets’ staff ERA since the break is 2.93, best in the NL, including 2.66 by their starters. The Dodgers have the league’s second-best staff ERA over that stretch, 3.03. (The Braves’ team ERA since the All-Star break is 5.15, which ranks 13th in the NL over that stretch.)

The Braves won’t face Jacob deGrom or Noah Syndergaard this week, but the Mets’ starter Tuesday, Zack Wheeler, is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in three starts since returning from the injured list (shoulder fatigue). Wheeler has pitched 15 consecutive scoreless innings over his past two starts. Max Fried will start the series opener for the Braves.

The Mets’ scheduled starters Wednesday and Thursday are Steven Matz and recently acquired Marcus Stroman, respectively. The Braves will start Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday and Julio Teheran on Thursday.

The Dodgers lead the NL in home runs since the All-Star break (51), followed by the Mets (50). The Braves and Cincinnati Reds are tied for third most with 47 each since the break.

For the season, Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has 38 home runs, tied with the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger for second-most in the NL behind the Brewers’ Christian Yelich (39). The Mets also have the NL leader in batting average, Jeff McNeil at .337.

The Dodgers lead the NL in runs scored since the All-Star break with 168, while the Mets are fourth (behind the Reds and Braves).

As all of the forgoing numbers make clear, the back-to-back visits by the Mets and Dodgers should provide a compelling test for the Braves, who are 16-13 since the All-Star break and 12-13 over their past 25 games (but still six games ahead of the second-place Nationals in the NL East).

Braves' homestand schedule: 7:20 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday vs. Mets; 7:20 p.m. Friday and Saturday vs. Dodgers; 1:20 p.m. Sunday vs. Dodgers; 7:20 p.m. Aug. 20-22 vs. Marlins.

Records of NL East teams since the All-Star break: Mets 21-7, Braves 16-13, Nationals 16-13, Phillies 13-15 and Marlins 11-18.


Today’s Leadoff links

> The NBA announced its 2019-20 schedule Monday. The Hawks open at Detroit on Oct. 24 and have their home opener two days later vs. Orlando. Read Chris Vivlamore's report here.

> MLB also announced its 2020 schedule Monday. The Braves open at Arizona on March 26 and play four games there and three at San Diego before their home opener April 3 vs. Miami. Read Gabe Burns' report here.

> Jeremiah "J.J." Holloman, the Georgia Bulldogs' leading receiver last season, has joined the football team at Florida International. He won't seek an eligibility waiver and will sit out this season after being dismissed from the UGA program in June. Read Chip Towers' report here.