Series Preview: Mets @ Braves

An article by posted on April 16, 2012

The 6-3 Mets are headed to the 5-4 Atlanta Braves tonight, for a re-match of the opening series in which the Braves appeared to sleep through their alarm for the early 1pm games.

The Braves got swept in New York, but since then have won 5 of their last 6 games. So we need to be careful with making assumptions about this week’s series.

Why?

Well for starters, the Braves have Chipper Jones back in the lineup. Jones went 5 for 12 in his first 3 games back from the DL.

Secondly, Jason Heyward is proving his critics (some from this very site), that he has figured his swing out. Heyward went 2 for 10 against the Mets, and since then has gone 8 for his last 19 with 2 HR.

Atlanta still has some ice cold hitters (Uggla, Pastornicky, and Bourn) but with the addition of Chipper and a red hot Heyward, they are a threat this week.

Monday, 7:10pm – Dillon Gee v. Tommy Hanson

It’s never a good thing on paper when your #5 goes toe-to-toe with another team’s #1 starter. For Gee, he has to forget about his April 10th loss to Washington. The positives of that game were his 6K to 1BB. He’ll need to keep that kind of ratio up, and if he does, good things will happen to him.

I’m always weary of stats, especially ERA. If you look at Gee’s ERA of 5.06, you’d think he got shelled in his 1st start. He pitched better than that, and if the defensive gives him better support, he should be fine.

Hanson was a tough luck loser on Opening Day, but earned himself a win against Houston in his next start. With Hanson, he runs deep into counts. If the Mets continue to be patient, they can get to the Braves pen by the 6th inning regardless of how well Hanson is pitching.

Tuesday, 7:10pm – Johan Santana v. Randall Delgado

Santana hits the road for the first time this year with a 0-1 record. Another classic case of “wins not telling the whole truth,” Santana has pitched well enough to be 2-0.

Santana is 3-6 against the Braves for his career. When you see that, you think he’s pitched terrible. Yet his career ERA against them is 2.14!

I’ll be curious to see if they push Santana a little further into this game if he’s having success. He topped out at 99 pitches in his last start against Washington. Will Santana see the 6th or even 7th inning?

The offense has to support him in this game. They fell asleep yesterday after Ike’s HR, and they hopefully won’t let Santana leave Atlanta with a loss or ND when he pitched good enough for a W.

Delgado has never faced the Mets, which is something I always fear with the Mets. I don’t know why, but they always seem to make young pitchers look like Tom Seaver when they face them for the first time.

Delgado pitched pretty well for Atlanta in his 1st start, earning a win while allowing 2 runs in 5 innings of work.

Wednesday, 12:10pm – R.A. Dickey v. Jair Jurrjens

Dickey looks to continue his perfect season with a start against a team that actually hits him pretty well. Dickey is 3-6 against Atlanta with an ERA close to 4.00.

Nothing like a knuckleball floating by you on a sunny day though.

Jurrjens has struggled big time so far. He’s 0-1 with an ERA of 7.71. He should be 0-2 after giving up 5 runs in 5 innings against Milwaukee, but his team bailed him out with a come from behind 10-8 victory.

Jurrjens threw over 100 pitches in 4.1 innings of work against the Mets earlier this year. That is exactly what this lineup can and should do to guys like Jurrjens and Hanson who work deep in counts and always look for the big K.

Series Summary:

Again, I do apologize for the shorter previews. This weekend is huge for me, so once we get past it, I should have more time to devote to this.

For the series, the Mets need to get to the Braves bullpen, but not to the point where it means Venters/Kimbrel come in.

Both Venters and Kimbrel have been dominating so far this year, and proving that perhaps being overworked last year was a bigger cause for their collapse than just them on their own.

The Mets can’t let Chipper or Heyward beat them. They are the two guys you circle on the lineup card and under no circumstances do you put them in a spot to win the game.

For the Mets, it’s all about waking up the slumbering offense. Since April 10th against Washington, the Mets have scored exactly 2 runs in every game except the Worley game where they scored 5. Sooner or later, 2 runs isn’t going to cut it.

I’d like to see Tejada shake off the error, and come out with a nice game in the opener tonight. For all the negativity surrounding Jason Bay, Davis and Duda are hurting the Mets offensively just as much.

Before the year there was a ton of hype about D&D, but other than a few Abs, they have yet to show they can answer the call.

Combined D&D are hitting like a .170 hitter going 11 for 65. You aren’t going to continue to win games when your 4/5 hitters (assuming Bay is out) are hitting like minor leaguers.

I’d also like to see the Mets starters go a little deeper into games this week. Specifically Gee and Dickey. It’d be nice if Santana could, but for me, Dickey is the main guy I want to see have a long outing to give the bullpen a little bit of rest.

OVER/UNDER RUNS:  Just to make it clear, my goal here is two fold. First, to pick over or under correctly on the total runs scored for the series.

Also, to set the over/under within a run of the ACTUAL total. So in the first two series’ I was within a half a run. This last series, my over/under was within 2 runs of the actual.

I’m 2-1 on the year, but without that disaster of an 8th inning yesterday I could have easily been 1-2. Tonight’s over/under is 7.5 which is a little high for me. I’m going to set this series at 18.5 and choose the over.  (Season Record 2-1)

METS POTS: I think if the Mets win this series, I’m going to choose a surprise and pick Josh Thole as the best player.

KEEP YOUR EYES ON: Gotta be Heyward. He’s on fire, and if he continues that pace, he will kill the Mets hopes of winning this series.

I’LL BE DRINKING A: Probably going to go with some wine for this one. It’s a little hot out, so I’ll probably shift to white, maybe a nice Sauv Blanc?

Enjoy the series, and Let’s Go Mets!  

 

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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