Series Preview: Braves 8/5-8/7 at Citi Field

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The Mets, who are 55-55 and in fourth place in the National League East, face off against the second place Braves in a three game weekend set.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday Night: R.A. Dickey (5-9, 3.77) vs. Tim Hudson (10-7, 3.31)

Dickey is 1-0 this season against the Braves with a 3.46 ERA in 13 innings.

Hudson is 0-2 this season against the Mets with a 7.88 ERA in eight innings.

Saturday Night: Jon Niese (10-8, 3.94) vs. Tommy Hanson (11-6, 3.20)

Niese is 1-0 in two starts against the Braves this season with a 2.57 ERA in 14 total innings.

Hanson allowed three earned runs in five innings in his only start against the Mets this season.

Sunday Afternoon: Dillon Gee (10-3, 3.69) vs. Jair Jurrjens (12-4, 2.63)

Gee is 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA, his lowest against any team he has started against, this season versus the Braves.

Jurrjens is 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA against the Mets this season in three starts.

Braves Background:

  • The Braves, coming into play on Thursday are eight games behind the Phillies in the chase for the National League East crown. The Braves are 5-5 in their last ten and are 22-20 against the division this season, compared to the Mets, who are just 18-24.
  • The Braves acquired Astros outfielder Michael Bourn at the trade deadline to add a true leadoff hitter to the top of their lineup. Bourn, a former All-Star, is 4-13 with the Braves so far, with a stolen base. Bourn has stolen 153 bases in the past three seasons. Look for him to try to swipe one against the Mets.
  • Braves outfielder Jason Heyward, who was a top candidate for Rookie of the Year last season, hitting 18 home runs in his rookie campaign, has struggled this season, hitting .223 with 11 home runs in 85 games this season. Hayward sat out the last two games with a bruised foot, but will likely be ready to go for the weekend series.
  • The Braves bullpen, for the most part, has shut down opponents this season, with their five main relievers (Kimbrel, Venters, O’Flaherty, Linebrink, Sherrill) pitching to the tune of a 1.85 ERA. Scott Linebrink, however, was placed on the disabled list on Monday with a strain in his lower back.
  • Craig Kimbrel, who is emerging as one of baseball’s best closers, set a Braves rookie record on July 22 with his 31st save of the season.
  • Last, but not least, Dan Uggla, who has had a horrible season for the most part, has a 25-game hitting streak going coming into the series this weekend. Uggla was hitting .173 when the streak started on July 5, but has raised his average to .215.

What to expect:

  • The Braves have a well-balanced offense that could pound Met pitching, despite a .243 batting average this season as a team. Chipper Jones, who may come off the DL in time for the series, has hit Dickey and Niese very well, hitting .500 against Dickey and .364 against Niese. He hasn’t gotten a hit in five plate appearences against Dillon Gee.
  • More bullpen troubles from the Mets. They have struggled recently and there is no reason why they would stop at home, where the Mets struggle, against one of the best teams in the National League. The odds don’t favor them. Maybe if Pedro Beato or Bobby Parnell get a shot at closer, they could manage to save a game or two between them.
  • The three Braves starters have all pitched well against the Mets in their careers, with a combined 24-14 record. Jose Reyes has been in a slump, hitting just .261 since returning from the DL on July 19. Surprisingly, Jose still leads the league in batting average, hitting .339 on the season. David Wright is the only Met that’s hot right now, and he can’t carry the team on his own. Even he has struggled against the scheduled Braves starters, hitting .222 against Hudson, .063 against Hanson, and .207 versus Jurrje
About Connor O'Brien
I'm a 16 year-old blogger, high school student, and lifelong Mets fan. I've been blogging about the Mets in some form or another for about four years. I embrace the new age, sabermetric way of thinking, but also recognize the importance of scouting and player devlopment.

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