A quick 2-game series against the New York Mets will kick off Monday night in Atlanta. The 2 teams are currently going in opposite directions; the Braves have won 5 out of their last 6 and are 6-4 in the past 10 games. Compare this to the Mets who have lost 5 in a row and 7 out of 10 and it's no wonder why the Mets have fallen from the top to the bottom of the NL East.
The Mets haven't received much from their starting pitchers. Their rotation is anchored by Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey, who have both been solid this year. Their rotation is rounded out by John Maine, Oliver Perez (haha!) and Jon Niese, but both Perez and Niese were injured during their most recent series against the Marlins. They're currently 11th in the NL in team ERA and 12th in innings pitched.
Where the Mets (surprisingly) strive is in the bullpen. Despite already pitching a ridiculous 133.2 innings, they've posted the #1 bullpen ERA in the NL with an impressive mark of 2.63. As everyone knows, they're led by wild-yet-effective closer Francisco Rodriguez. Besides K-Rod, Hisanori Takahashi, Manny Acosta (haha!), Fernando Nieve, Pedro Feliciano and impressive rookie Jenrry Mejia fill out the 'pen for New York. The Braves tore the DBacks and Brewers bullpens apart. Let's hope they do the same to the Mutts.
Offensively, the Mets have been an average club. They're still without CF Carlos Beltran, but have received good play from rookie 1B Ike Davis to help make up for the loss. The Mets have a ton of speed at the top of their lineup with
douchebag SS Jose Reyes and 2B Luis Castillo. The middle of their order features David Wright, Jason Bay, the afore mentioned Davis and former Brave Jeff Francoeur (haha!). Catcher Rod Barajas has been a very pleasant surprise for the Mets, who leads the team with 9 HRs.
The Mets are 10th in the NL in runs scored and struggle with the long ball at times, but do a great job on the base paths with an impressive 34 steals in 42 attempts. The spacious Citi Field plays a role in this, but the Mets also lead the NL in triples. It'll be interesting to see if the Braves are able to shut the Mutts down on the base paths.
Monday, 7:10EST - Mike Pelfrey vs. Derek Lowe
Pelfrey's Line: 4-1 3.14ERA 43.0IP 17BB/31K 1.35WHIP
Lowe's Line: 5-3 5.73ERA 44IP 21BB/25K 1.61WHIP
Pelfrey's Last Start: His last start certainly wasn't a pretty one. Pelfrey went 5.2 innings against the Nationals and struggled, giving up 4 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks. Pelfrey made a start against the Braves earlier this year and won 1-0 in a rain-shortened game. Similar to the Nationals game, Pelfrey had a ton of runners on base as he walked 5 and gave up 5 hits.
Lowe's Last Start: Our $60MM "ace" pitched very well in Milwaukee, going 6 strong innings against the potent Brewers lineup. DLowe probably could've gone deeper into the game, but the Brew Crew (finally) broke through against him. He hasn't faced the Mets in 2010.
Tuesday, 7:10EST - Johan Santana vs. Kris Medlen
Santana's Line: 3-2 3.88ERA 48.2IP 12BB/40K 1.21WHIP
Medlen's Line: 1-1 2.35ERA 23.0IP 3BB/20K 1.22WHIP
Santana's Last Start: The ace lefty pitched a great game in his last start against the Marlins. He pitched 7 innings and allowed 1 un-earned run on only 6 hits and a walk. Santana hasn't faced the Braves in 2010.
Medlen's Last Start: Medlen, who made his first start of the year last Saturday afternoon against the Phillies, was a victim of a high pitch count and was way too hittable for the Phillies lineup. He went 4.2 innings and gave up 9 hits, but somehow managed to hold the opposition to 1 run. Meds made a relief appearance against the Mets and threw a scoreless inning.
Questions for the Series:
1. Will the Braves continue to hit the ball well? They hit well against the Brewers and DBacks, but the Braves will face the Mutts top-2 pitchers and one of the best bullpens in the NL.
2. How will Kris Medlen, a relative unknown, pitch against Johan Santana, one of the top pitchers in baseball?
3. Will the Braves continue to play well at home? They have an impressive 10-5 record on the season so far.