Series Preview: Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets

Marc Serota

The Braves host the New York Mets for a three-game weekend series.

Since starting the season 7-4, the Mets have hit a funk, and nothing defines hitting a funk more than losing two of three to the laughable Marlins. The Mets have won just four of their last 15 games since the team's 7-4 start, including six in a row before snapping that skid on Wednesday with a win.

Fulfilling his end of the bargain is starter Matt Harvey. The young righty has been on fire this year, striking out 46 hitters in 40.1 innings and the Mets have won five of his six starts. In addition to the strikeouts, Harvey is among the top five in the NL in ERA (1.56) and WHIP (0.82). In only one start has he allowed more than a single run and only in his last start did he not complete six innings. Harvey starts Sunday against the Braves and could prove to be a tough test for the hard-hitting Atlanta offense.

Harvey anchors an otherwise mediocre pitching staff with a 4.11 ERA, 11th in the NL and helped in no way whatsoever by the bullpen. New York's 4.87 relief ERA is second worst in the NL, better only than St. Louis. Two bright spots in New York's pen have been closer Bobby Parnell and lefty reliever Scott Rice. Parnell has struck out 11 hitters in 12.1 innings while only issuing one walk and has all three of the team's saves. Rice has been summoned 16 times, the most of anyone out of the New York bullpen and has a 1.84 ERA. Rice is a 31-year-old rookie who made his debut Opening Day this year after roaming the minors and independent leagues for 14 years; he was drafted all the way back in 1999.

David Wright continues to lead the Mets offense, leading the team with a .308 avg., but perhaps the biggest contributor to the offense has been John Buck. Acquired in a winter trade, Buck leads the team with nine home runs and leads the NL with 27 RBI. Lucas Duda leads the team with a .424 OBP with Wright right behind him at .423; in fact, Duda and Wright are 3-4 in the NL in OBP. One player expect to contribute, Ike Davis, has not done a whole lot of that this season. Davis does have a two-HR game this year, but with only eight RBI and hitting .169, it seems as if he's suffering from a case of the Ugglas. He's only 3/25 against lefties in 2013 and 0/4 in six plate appearances against Atlanta's starter on Friday, Mike Minor.

Friday, May 3, 7:30 p.m. ET

Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-3

210

R

L

Dec 26, 1987

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Mike Minor 3-2 3.13 0.98 27 5

Shaun Marcum

#38 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-0

195

R

R

Dec 14, 1981

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Shaun Marcum 0-2 7.94 2.12 4 3

Saturday, May 4, 7:10 p.m. ET

Julio Teheran

#49 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-2

175

R

R

Jan 27, 1991

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Julio Teheran 1-0 5.08 1.66 20 8

Jon Niese

#49 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-4

215

L

L

Oct 27, 1986

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Jon Niese 2-2 3.31 1.47 17 13

Sunday, May 5, 1:35 p.m. ET

Tim Hudson

#15 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves

6-1

175

R

R

Jul 14, 1975

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Tim Hudson 3-1 3.86 1.20 24 11

Matt Harvey

#33 / Pitcher / New York Mets

6-4

225

R

R

Mar 27, 1989

W-L ERA WHIP K BB
2013 - Matt Harvey 4-0 1.56 0.82 46 12


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