Mets vs. Braves: 5 things to watch during series at Citi Field

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Mets Jacob deGrom 5/25 vs Rockies home white
Mets Jacob deGrom 5/25 vs Rockies home white

The Mets and Atlanta Braves will play a three-game series this weekend at Citi Field.

Here are five things to watch...

The returns of Taijuan Walker and Pete Alonso

Taijuan Walker is expected to pitch the first game of the series, giving the Mets another starting pitcher back and making their rotation nearly whole.

The situation with Pete Alonso isn't as clear.

Alonso has been making progress and is eligible to return on Saturday, but the Mets may opt to have him play in rehab games before bringing him back.

The Weather

The forecast calls for rain from 6 p.m. Friday through 11 a.m. Saturday (Friday's game is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.), rain after 9 p.m. on Saturday (Saturday's game is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.), and periods of rain during Sunday's game, which is scheduled to start at 7:08 p.m.

If the Mets want to be proactive, they should consider sliding Saturday's game to the afternoon to give themselves a large window to play -- or starting a potential doubleheader Saturday around 12 p.m.

Apr 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) at Citi Field.
Apr 13, 2021; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (20) at Citi Field.

Jacob DeGrom vs. Ronald Acuña Jr.

The Braves are the only NL East team Jacob deGrom hasn't faced yet this season.

That means that Sunday night will feature the first battle this season between the best pitcher and one of the best hitters.

DeGrom has simply been on another planet so far this season, and so has Acuña.

In 45 games, Acuña is slashing .279/.381/.612 with 15 homers.

Can the Mets' pen stay nearly flawless?

As the Mets have been dealing with an outrageous amount of injuries to their offensive players and their starting rotation, the bullpen has helped keep them afloat.

The Mets have gone 15-9 in May and they would not have been able to do it without the tremendous performance from the bullpen.

Edwin Diaz, Trevor May, Miguel Castro, Aaron Loup, and Jeurys Familia have continued to excel while anchoring the 'pen.

And the fact that Marcus Stroman provided length in Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader as the Mets avoided using May and Castro in both games should have them in good position for this weekend's series.

What about the Mets' other injured players?

In addition to Walker and Alonso, there are three other injured Mets whose returns aren't far away.

  • Seth Lugo is eligible to return on May 31, and the expectation is that he will

  • Luis Guillorme is close to beginning a rehab assignment

  • Kevin Pillar is eligible to return on May 28 but is not yet ready. However, a return around the second week of June is possible