Friday, July 24, Queens, N.Y., Citi Field; 4:10 p.m. ET
Atlanta Braves Odds
Mike Soroka is the youngest Opening Day starter in franchise history at 22 years old, but he went 4-0 against the Mets last season and should feel right at home at Citi Field. The Braves (97-65) won their second straight NL East title before falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Division Series in five games.
Atlanta hasn’t gotten beyond the Division Series since 2001 despite qualifying for the playoffs nine times in that span. Atlanta was hit hard by the coronavirus, and veterans Nick Markakis and Felix Hernandez opted out of the 2020 season. At least four Braves — Freddie Freeman, Pete Kozma, Will Smith and Touki Toussaint — have battled the coronavirus.
Kozma and Smith have not yet been cleared to return to the team. Freeman, who is expected to play Friday, said he was running a fever of 104.5 degrees around July 4.
New York Mets odds
No MLB franchise has a better Opening Day record than the Mets (38-20), who’ve won three straight season-starters. Right-hander Jacob deGrom (11-8, 2.43 ERA in 2019), the two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner, is scheduled to take the mound for the Mets.
DeGrom has a 7-7 record with a 1.97 ERA in 21 career starts against the Braves. It has been awhile since the Mets have been in the heat of a playoff push, but with a 60-game season, that’s the message the franchise is pushing as August approaches. “This feels like a pennant race right now,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “Everybody’s in first place, everybody’s in last place.”
New York’s offense is powered by first baseman Pete Alonso, who edged Soroka for the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2019.