The Mets will be pretty big favorites in this game due to the fact that Max Scherzer is on the mound for them while Atlanta trots out Jake Odorizzi. Still, this is easily one of the most pivotal series of the week. We're going to have some great matchups down the stretch between teams that are fighting for their division, some of which may come down to the final game of the year. It's like having an extra playoff series in the regular season, and we are here for it. Atlanta and New York look like they are headed in that direction.
We all know the history of the Mets' famous collapses before the playoffs, but they are hoping to prove that they are not that team anymore. They have the talent and the staff to do so, they just have to buck history and keep playing the way they have been. Scherzer clearly gives them the advantage in this game, and an offense that features Pete Alonso against Odorizzi is something to be confident about if you are a Mets fan. While Odorizzi hasn't been bad, he hasn't been that great either. He comes in with a 3.80 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, which is about as average as it gets for a starting pitcher. New York has crushed average pitchers all year; that is why they are here.
Atlanta finds themselves in an unfortunate situation having to take on Scherzer, who is simply terrific. His 1.93 ERA and 0.93 WHIP are among the very best numbers in baseball, and even with how great the Braves offense has been, they will have a tough task ahead of them. Ronald Acuna Jr. is the superstar, but he actually doesn't lead Atlanta in any main statistics. Austin Riley leads the team in homers while Matt Olson takes the crown in RBI. Dansby Swanson, the former top draft pick, leads the team in batting average. This should be a great one.
Who would have thought that the Baltimore Orioles would be in this position when the season began? No way on this earth would I have guessed I would be making this a game of the day back in April, but here we are. Baltimore is slightly behind Toronto and Tampa Bay for second place in the AL East division and the last AL Wild Card spot. This is a team that doesn't have nearly the talent or payroll of the Blue Jays, but could very well pass them in the standings as we head into September. That is truly impressive, but also horribly embarrassing for Toronto, who has underwhelmed all year long. The Blue Jays were supposed to be a World Series contender, but they have been very average in 2022. Nothing about them stands out as special, and the offense that was supposed to take over the league has been disappointing.
In this game in particular, Austin Voth takes the mound for Baltimore while Ross Stripling gets the ball for Toronto. Neither one of these guys are overly impressive, but Stripling has been pretty good overall. Voth hasn't been great overall in 2022, but he has been better as of late. I would say that he is taking on a strong offense that should take him to town, but that simply isn't the case. Vlad Guerrero Jr. leads the team in homers, and talent on this team could go off at any moment, but they have yet to do so. It is just hard to back Toronto, and if you had bet against them all season long, you would be up quite a bit of cash.
Don't look now, but the Yankees are falling off a cliff. In particular, it has been the offense that has really let the team down. I'll admit, I thought it would be the pitching that would ultimately do the Yankees in, I simply don't trust guys like Jameson Tallion or Domingo German in the playoffs. Perhaps it was the offense that I should have been looking at all along, and their horrible base running that has cost them several chances to win games recently. In their last game, they had seven hits, but failed to put up a single run on the board for the second straight night. They can't get a hit with runners in scoring position, and the power that this lineup once had has seemingly disappeared. Even Aaron Judge has been "struggling" as of late, that is relative to how he has been playing this season.
Tampa Bay has taken a step back this season compared to the previous few, but they are still an above-average team. There really isn't anything they do spectacularly, but they also aren't truly bad at anything. The definition of an average team. New York has built themselves such a lead that even this skid has kept division foes from taking over the division, but it has gotten closer. Tampa is in second place and is still far out of first place, which is insane to think about when you know how badly New York has been lately. German takes the mound in this one for New York, and I really don't trust him to be that guy in the playoffs, but he has played well as of late. Tampa doesn't boast a great offense, so I would expect him to have another good start. Corey Kluber gets the ball for Tampa, and he has been much worse lately with a 4.40 ERR, but a still decent 1.19 WHIP.