Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Series Preview: Opening Day

The Braves have opened the season away from Atlanta in seven of the last nine years.

After six long, agonizing months...IT'S TIME FOR BASEBALL AGAIN!!

Never have I wanted a baseball season to start so badly. After the way 2011 ended for the Braves, Opening Day 2012 couldn't arrive soon enough, but now it has, and they look ready to wipe the bitter taste of the end of last year from the collective mouth of Braves Country. The team will have some extra motivation to end 2012 on a high note with the declaration from Chipper Jones that this will be his final season, but he will start the season on the DL recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery. It's a shame, too, since the Braves open the season against his favorite punching bag, the New York Mets.

So what's new in Queens? What's most obvious is that Jose Reyes took his talents to South Beach for $106 million over six years, so if the Mets want to avoid a fourth straight losing season, they'll have to do it without him. The Mets traded Angel Pagan to the Giants for Andres Torres and Ramon Ramirez and signed free-agent relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch. Both have served as closers in the past, Rauch with 58 career saves and Francisco with 49. Meanwhile, R.A. Dickey is back from Africa, Citi Field got smaller and we'll actually see Johan Santana pitch for the first time in ages. Ike Davis appears to have recovered from his ankle injury suffered last year and Daniel Murphy is back from getting spiked in the leg in a game against the Braves. Outside of a few new faces, there isn't much for Mets fans to get excited about this year.

Pitching matchups and more after the jump.

Thursday, April 5, 1:10 p.m. ET

Tommy Hanson

#48 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-6

220

R

R

Aug 28, 1986

2011: 11-7, 3.60 ERA, 46 BB, 142 K, 1.17 WHIP

Johan Santana

#57 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-0

210

L

L

Mar 13, 1979

2011: did not pitch

-

Saturday, April 7, 1:10 p.m. ET

Jair Jurrjens

#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-1

200

R

R

Jan 29, 1986

2011: 13-6, 2.96 ERA, 44 BB, 90 K, 1.22 WHIP

R.A. Dickey

#43 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-2

220

R

R

Oct 29, 1974

2011: 8-13, 3.28 ERA, 54 BB, 134 K, 1.23 WHIP

-

Sunday, April 8, 1:10 p.m. ET

Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

210

R

L

Dec 26, 1987

2011: 5-3, 4.14 ERA, 30 BB, 77 K, 1.49 WHIP

Jon Niese

#49 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-4

215

L

L

Oct 27, 1986

2011: 11-11, 4.40 ERA, 44 BB, 138 K, 1.41 WHIP

Mets Opening Day roster:

PITCHERS

Manny Acosta
Pedro Beato
Tim Byrdak
D.J. Carrasco
R.A. Dickey
Frank Francisco
Dillon Gee
Jon Niese
Bobby Parnell
Mike Pelfrey
Ramon Ramirez
Jon Rauch
Johan Santana

CATCHERS

Mike Nickeas
Josh Thole

INFIELDERS

Ronny Cedeno
Ike Davis
Daniel Murphy
Ruben Tejada
Justin Turner
David Wright

OUTFIELDERS

Jason Bay
Lucas Duda
Scott Hairston
Andres Torres

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