Series Preview: Atlanta Braves


After a slow start at home (2-4), the Mets embark on a difficult nine-game road trip beginning in Atlanta on Tuesday night. The road trip will continue over the weekend in Anaheim, before concluding in Arizona. Of course, it is on the road where the Mets have found their best success in recent years. They went 41-40 away from Citi Field last season, which has them changing their routine during home games to try to improve their performance in Queens. Atlanta has always been a House of Horrors for the Mets, where they are 50-94 all-time. It is imperative for the Amazins to play well on this road trip to avoid an early season deficit in the standings.

The Braves

After a 4-2 start on the road, the Braves open their 2014 home schedule against the Mets. Despite a myriad of injuries to their starting rotation, as always, Atlanta has been able to piece together an effective rotation through the season’s first turn. Alex Wood and Julio Teheran have been excellent in two starts each, having allowed only seven earned runs combined over 17 innings of work. Led by Craig Kimbrel, the bullpen has also been effective. It has been an extremely slow start to the season for many of the Braves’ hitters. Jason Heyward, Dan Uggla, Justin Upton, and B.J. Upton have all struggled out of the gate, striking out at ridiculous rates. Freddie Freeman (.421/.560/.789) has carried the offensive load.

2014 Lineup

  1. Jason Heyward RF
  2. B.J. Upton CF
  3. Freddie Freeman 1B
  4. Chris Johnson 3B
  5. Justin Upton LF
  6. Dan Uggla 2B
  7. Evan Gattis C
  8. Andrelton Simmons SS

New Faces

Key Injuries

  • It is almost unfathomable to comprehend the amount of pitching the Braves lost to Tommy John surgery. Free agent SP Gavin Floyd is recovering from Tommy John, RP Jonny Venters is also recovering, but may not pitch until June. And both SP Kris Medlan and SP Brandon Beachy will miss the season due to Tommy John. RP Cory Gearrin is awaiting word on whether he, too, will be added to the Tommy John list.

Interesting Notes

  • The Braves will be recognizing the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron‘s record 715th home run before Tuesday’s game.
  • A lot of focus so far this season has been on the Mets strikeout rate (worst in the National League at 29%), but the Braves hitters have had nearly as terrible a time. They are the second most srikeout inclined lineup in the National League, with a K% of 25.9%.
  • Jason Heyward went 0-5 on Sunday with two strikeouts. The right fielder is complaining of neck pain and batting only .130 to start the year.
  • Braves starters lead the National League in ERA at 1.63.

Pitching Probables

Tuesday (7:10): RHP Bartolo Colon (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00)
Wednesday (7:10): RHP Zack Wheeler (0-1, 4.50) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (0-0, —)
Thursday (7:10): RHP Jenrry Mejia (1-0, 1.50) vs. RHP David Hale (0-0, 0.00)