The Atlanta Braves will send major league strikeout co-leader Spencer Strider to the mound on Thursday as they shoot for a three-game sweep against the visiting New York Mets.
The Braves won the first two games of the series by erasing 4-1 deficits, prevailing 6-4 on Tuesday and 7-5 on Wednesday.Atlanta has a four-game winning streak while New York has dropped five in a row.
Atlanta has won four of five games against New York this season and 10 of the teams' past 12 meetings. The Braves are 8-1 at home against the Mets during that span.
Strider (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will face veteran Justin Verlander (2-3, 4.25) in the series finale.
Strider has won his past two outings. In his most recent start, on Saturday against the Arizona Diamondbacks, he pitched six innings and allowed two runs on three hits and a season-high four walks. He fanned seven, which matched his season low.
"You feel like every day -- Spencer it's every five days -- you can't ask for a better seat in the house watching that," Atlanta reliever Jesse Chavez said.
Strider and Toronto's Kevin Gausman lead the majors with 113 strikeouts (Strider in 69 2/3 innings, Gausman in 82).
In six career appearances (four starts) against the Mets, Strider is 3-1 with a 5.03 ERA. He beat New York on May 1 when he worked five innings and gave up four runs, five hits and three walks while striking out eight.
Verlander threw 117 pitches, the most by a major league pitcher this season, in his latest start, on Saturday against the Blue Jays. It was his highest pitch count since he threw 120 pitches when he tossed a no-hitter for the Houston Astros against Toronto in 2019.
In the Saturday outing, the 40-year-old veteran limited the Blue Jays to one run on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts.
"That's how you kind of win those tight ballgames and not have to go to the bullpen too early," Verlander said. "I was glad to be able to do it. Pitch-number wise, that's why I work so hard. I haven't thrown that many in a while but felt good physically."
Verlander is set to make his first career start at Truist Park, making it the 34th venue in which he will have pitched. His last start against the Braves came on Oct. 2, 2016, in the final game at Turner Field. Verlander is 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA in three career starts against the Braves.
It is uncertain whether New York first baseman Pete Alonso will be available for the series finale. Alonso, who leads the major leagues with 22 home runs, was hit in the left wrist by a Charlie Morton four-seam fastball in the first inning of the Wednesday game.
Alonso underwent X-rays that were negative, but he was listed as day-to-day with a wrist contusion.
"Everything looked good, but we're going to take a scan (Thursday) so we'll know what we're dealing with," New York manager Buck Showalter said. "I'm sure he's going to be sore."
Atlanta manager Brian Snitker picked up his 579th win on Wednesday, tying him with George Stallings for the third-most wins by a manager in franchise history. Stallings managed the Boston Braves from 1913-20, winning a World Series title in 1914 with the Miracle Braves.
Bobby Cox holds the franchise mark for managerial wins with 2,149, and Frank Selee is second with 1,004.
--Field Level Media