The Braves were finally able to rest following 20 straight days of games, but it's back to the grind this weekend against the New York Mets at Citi Field.
The Mets have lost four in a row and have a losing record at home (22-28), but have won the last two series against the Braves. They're also without Carlos Beltran, whom they traded to the Giants July 28 and closer Francisco Rodriguez, traded to Milwaukee July 12. They sit 16 games out of first in the NL East while the Braves are 8.5 games back, but have a 2.5-game lead in the Wild Card.
Friday, August 5, 7:10 p.m. EDT
#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 14, 1975
|2011 - Tim Hudson||10-7||22||22||1||1||0||0||141.1||123||59||52||9||35||104||3.31||1.12|
#43 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Oct 29, 1974
|2011 - R.A. Dickey||5-9||23||22||1||0||0||0||140.2||144||65||59||15||41||95||3.77||1.32|
Hudson is coming off a dominant outing against Florida, tossing seven innings and allowing only one run. He has struggled against the Mets this year though, as he's lost both starts against them (8 IP, 7 ER).
Dickey took the loss in his last start, allowing three runs over six innings, and has a 4.50 ERA since the All-Star Break. However, he could provide the biggest obstacle in Dan Uggla's quest to extend his 25-game hitting streak: Uggla is 0 for 15 in his career against Dickey.
Saturday, August 6, 7:10 p.m. EDT
#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Aug 28, 1986
|2011 - Tommy Hanson||11-6||21||21||0||0||0||0||126.2||98||48||45||13||44||137||3.20||1.12|
#49 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Oct 27, 1986
|2011 - Jon Niese||10-8||25||22||0||0||0||0||134.2||141||69||59||11||39||116||3.94||1.34|
Hanson walked four and took the loss in his last start against Florida. The four walks are the most he's issued since June 7, also against Florida when he walked five. He lost his last start against the Mets, but has otherwise been dominant against them, posting a 2.27 ERA in six starts.
Niese posted a July ERA of 4.66 and had a no-decision in his last start July 31. He leads the team in strikeouts (116) and has walked only four in 23.1 innings since the Break. He won his last start against the Braves back on June 14.
Sunday, August 7, 1:10 p.m. EDT
#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jan 29, 1986
|2011 - Jair Jurrjens||12-4||20||20||2||1||0||0||133.2||118||41||39||11||35||85||2.63||1.14|
#35 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Apr 28, 1986
|2011 - Dillon Gee||10-3||20||17||1||0||0||0||107.1||86||48||44||8||43||70||3.69||1.20|
Jurrjens has fallen on hard times lately: six of the 11 home runs he has allowed have come in his last four starts and he has a 6.26 ERA since the Break. This will be his fifth attempt at his 13th win of the season.
Gee has given the Braves fits this year, winning two of his three starts and allowing only one run in 16.2 innings against them. He will walk a few if hitters are patient enough: he has a 1.32 K:BB ratio in his last 10 starts (25 BB, 33 K).
Since David Wright's return from the DL July 22, all he's done is hit .392 (20 for 51) with 13 RBI. Now that Beltran is no longer a Met, no other player has more than eight home runs, that being Wright. Daniel Murphy takes over the RBI lead with 48. Murphy had a nine-game hitting streak broken August 2; he's hitting .319 overall.
Lucas Duda has replaced Beltran in right field, but so far hasn't replaced his bat: Duda is only 4 for 19 since Beltran was traded.
Jason Bay still hasn't produced at the level expected of him this year, but comes into the series with a modest six-game hitting streak (10 for 23) that has pushed his average to .239. As a team, the Mets are second in the NL with a .266 batting average and a .335 OBP.
As always, Jose Reyes ignites the offense: his .339 average leads the NL and accompanies a .379 OBP. His 32 steals are second in the NL to Atlanta's newest acquisition, Michael Bourn. Reyes has struck out only 30 times in 419 at-bats this year.
The Mets 4.01 ERA ranks in the bottom half of the NL; starters have posted a 3.96 ERA with a 4.12 FIP while the bullpen has posted a 4.11 ERA and a 3.90 FIP. When the Mets traded Francisco Rodriguez, many people assumed Bobby Parnell would take over the closer role. However, Jason Isringhausen has been closing games of late. Parnell has allowed six runs in nine innings since the Break while Isringhausen has recorded five saves in his last eight outings despite allowing seven runs over his last four appearances.