Preview: Game Four vs. Braves

The Mets (2-1) invade Atlanta to play the last-place Braves (1-3) in a 7:35 PM start at Turner Field. I know, it’s early in the season, but we have to take advantage of stating “last-place Braves” every chance we get.

Pitching Matchup

John Maine makes his first 2008 start against Tim Hudson, who pitched the Braves’ opener in Washington DC and allowed only three hits and two runs in a seven-inning no-decision.


Mike Hampton was placed on the DL (surprised?) when trainers discovered he was on the Braves’ 25-man roster. Since he’d already injured 95% of his body in the past, they had to come up with something good, and went with “pectoral soreness”.

Interesting Tidbits

Ruben “Sniffles” Gotay makes his first appearance against the Mets, and has vowed vengeance against the club for waiving him last week. I love Ruben, but he’s going to have to get onto the field first — and he’s the third utilityman behind Martin Prado and Omar Infante. I wish him luck, just not this weekend.

Fearless Prediction

Assuming John Maine continues the outstanding form he showed throughout the spring, this should be an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, as Hudson looked great as well in his Opening Day start. Look for Brady Clark to bounce a 77-hopper past the outstretched glove of Gotay (brought in as part of a double-switch) to score Angel Pagan with the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th. Billy Wagner will come on in the bottom of the ninth and strike out the side.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude April 4, 2008 at 6:47 pm
    Ah man, I guess the one thing happened tonight that no one predicted: a rain out. What a bummer.
  2. isuzudude April 4, 2008 at 6:53 pm
    Actually, after some thought, does this now mean the Mets will use Maine on Saturday and then Johan on Sunday? We could essentially skip Pelfrey this time thru the rotation…or at least until Wednesday’s home game against the Phillies. Personally, having seen what Pelfrey could do against the Braves in Atlanta last year, I’d rather throw him to the mound on Sunday in lieu of Johan, and save our ace for the home opener on Tuesday against the Phils. That would be so very appropriate. Then go Ollie Wednesday, and Maine on 4 days rest on Thursday. That’s a nice, stacked threesome to go up against our #1 Eastern division rival. Pelfrey could then go on 4 days rest against the Brewers next Friday, leaving Figueroa on target to start next Saturday. Anyone else in favor of this plan?

    Then again, mother nature may not be done with us yet…

  3. joe April 4, 2008 at 6:59 pm
    hmmm …. well …. here’s my thing: Johan and Maine are, hands-down, our best two pitchers, so I’d be inclined to get them as many starts as possible — regardless of who the opponent is. Though I do like your thinking of putting a stacked threesome vs. Philly.

    Another thing — I feel that the Braves will be the main competition this year, and Philly will phade away by mid-summer. That said, I want all the wins we can get against Larry’s boys.

  4. sincekindergarten April 5, 2008 at 4:20 am
    ID, according to Marty Noble on, that’s exactly what they will do–Maine v. Hudson on Saturday (FOX), though there’s a chance of rain to within 30 minutes of game time; and Santana v. Glavine on Sunday. New ace v. old ace (when he came to the Mets waaay back when, he was the #1).

    If the Phillthies’ series was in that bandbox (CBP), I’d want someone other than Pelf pitching. However, it’s at Shea, which is (ostensibly) a pitchers’ park, so I can live with Pelf going against the Phillthies.