Mets vs. Braves Series Preview

It’s been a while since we’ve done a series preview here, and the seriousness of this series makes a preview appropriate. If the Mets get swept, they can more or less flush the rest of the season down the toilet. If they sweep, however, we can rekindle our hope for “meaningful games” in September. Anything in between and we’ll be pretty much where we are today: no man’s land (some may describe it as “purgatory”, though I don’t think it’s that dismal).

The pitching matchups:

Game 1, Friday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-9, 3.77) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (10-7, 3.31), 7:10 p.m. ET

Game 2, Saturday: LHP Jon Niese (10-8, 3.94) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (11-6, 3.20), 7:10 p.m. ET

Game 3, Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (10-3, 3.69) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (12-4, 2.63), 1:10 p.m. ET

Looking strictly at the pitching matchups, the Braves look like they have the advantage. It doesn’t help that the Mets have a negative record at home, and that they feel “tense” when playing in Flushing. But, anything can happen. All three of the Braves starters have struggled against the Mets at one point or another, so there is always hope.

Some random notes about this weekend:

– I was surprised to discover that the Mets are 0-9 in home openers this year.

– Remember how Dan Uggla was struggling mightily? Well he suddenly “figured it out” and is riding a 25-game hitting streak. He has 11 homers since July 1.

– Speaking of struggling stars on the rebound, Jason Bay is batting .435 (10-23) with three doubles, one home
run and five RBI over his last six games, and has eight RBI in his last 10 contests.

– Keep your eye on George Jose Constanza. The Braves rookie has lightning speed and his hot bat has kept ice-cold Jason Heyward on the bench lately.

Julio Lugo is on the Braves. How he keeps getting picked up by contending teams every year is anyone’s guess. But it does provide hope for Luis Castillo.

– The Mets have the second-highest batting average
in the National League (.266) and the second-best on-base percentage (.335), but rank fifth with 492 runs scored. They’re also sixth in MLB in hitting with RISP (.269), if that explains anything (?).

– Speaking of RISP, the Mets are hitting .190 (4-21) during their four-game losing streak. They hit .435 (27-62) during their five-game winning streak. Interestingly, they have the highest mark (.373, 31-83) in the majors with runners in scoring position dating back to July 25.

Brian McCann is on the DL, so that’s one less bat the Mets have to worry about. The Braves’ catching duties have been handled by David Ross and J.C. Boscan, who made his MLB debut last year after 14 years in the minors; he walked in his only plate appearance in 2010. Neither Boscan (who was hitting .194 in AAA this year) nor Ross are expected to strike terror into the hearts of the Mets pitchers, but Ross occasionally pops a ball over the fence.


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. Midwestern Met August 5, 2011 at 10:09 pm
    The breaking point inches closer…lose the next two and it’s over.

    But how great were tonight’s blue-with-orange trim jerseys? We ought to wear that color scheme more often.