Mets Vs. Braves, Game Three: Missed Opportunities Doom Atlanta As New York Wins, 3-2

The Braves and Mets play a three-game series in Atlanta before the Braves hit the road out West.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Critical Managing Mistakes Help Lead To Atlanta Loss In Series Finale

Sunday, April 17
(5-11) New York Mets - 3
(7-9) Atlanta Braves - 2

Box Score
Play-By-Play

Video Highlights

Photos

Putting Up With Fredi Gonzalez:
The day began on a good note for the new Braves manager as he was greeted with virtual pats on the back due to placing Jason Heyward in the second spot in the order. Even if it's just for a day, it shows he isn't completely ignoring logic or those that have clamored for it all season. However, that's where the good stuff ends.

Starting in the second inning, Gonzalez made perhaps the biggest mistake that he will make this season. With one out and the bases loaded, he asked Tommy Hanson, the worst bunter on the team, to attempt a squeeze bunt with two strikes and Eric Hinske on third. Hanson promptly struck out and Hinske was tagged out for the inning-ending double play, leaving the Braves down a run. The play was worth -.168 WPA, the biggest swing in the entire game. To say this was a crucial mistake is an understatement, and I cannot think of any way in which this could have been a smart decision.

Fredi Gonzalez:

"It’s one of those situations where early in the ballgame…Nobody missed a sign. That was a squeeze; we just missed a bunt. It’s one of those situations where the worst thing that could happen is he swung through it and when you’re not scoring runs you’ve got to try to make something up. That’s why they call it a suicide squeeze. It didn’t work this time."

To me, this is terrible logic. When you're not scoring runs on April 17, you sit tight and let your hitters work themselves out of slumps. You don't make video-game-like decisions that have the potential to be worth -.168 WPA in damage. Hanson should have been instructed to sit on his bat until he either strikes out or walks. There is no other way around this.

The other major mistake came in the eighth inning when, after Jason Heyward hit a homer to cut the lead to one, Chipper Jones walked with no outs. Gonzalez ordered Alex Gonzalez to bunt despite hitting two home runs Saturday and reaching on a single earlier in this game, and also despite having Matt Young and the pitcher's spot behind him. Where is the logic in this? Naturally, Young grounded out to move Chipper to third, and Brooks Conrad struck out to end the game.

More than what happened after the bunt is what that bunt actually cost the Braves in regards to their chances to win the game: -.052 WPA. So another Fredi decision that cost the team considerably.

Stat of the Day:
The Braves had four negative WPA plays of under -.100, three in the final two innings.

The Game Changer:
Tommy Hanson's failed squeeze bunt that resulted in a double play in the second inning, worth -.168.

WPA Winners:
(NYM) Francisco Rodriguez: .193
(NYM) Dillon Gee: .191
(ATL) Jason Heyward: .165

WPA Losers:
(ATL) Matt Young: -.179
(ATL) Brooks Conrad: -.158
(NYM) Angel Pagan: -.136

Courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Final Score: Missed Opportunities Doom Atlanta As New York Wins, 3-2

Missed opportunities were the order of the day for the Braves, as the Mets took the final game of the series and avoided a sweep with a 3-2 win.

The Braves were shut down by Mets starter Dillon Gee, who allowed one run on five hits in 5.2 innings, walking two and striking out four. The lone run came in the second inning when Freddie Freeman singled home Dan Uggla following Uggla's triple.

Other than the second inning, Gee cruised for five innings. He ran out of gas at 89 pitches with two outs in the fifth, putting two on. Chris Capuano got the final out in the inning on a Chipper Jones groundout with two on.

Back in the two-hole, Jason Heyward went 2-4 with a home run and single. He provided .165 WPA from his former spot in the order. Freeman added the other RBI on a single. Eric Hinske added two walks.

The first missed opportunity came in the second inning when the Braves loaded the bases with no outs. After Matt Young popped out for the first out, Tommy Hanson came to bat and went down two strikes. Fredi Gonzalez called a squeeze bunt and Hanson missed, striking out and causing a double play to end the inning. The combined worth was -.168 WPA.

The second came in the fifth when the Braves put two on with two outs. Chipper pinch hit for Freeman and hit right-handed against the lefty Capuano, grounding out to end the inning.

The third came in the eighth when Brian McCann walked with no outs and down by one. After Dan Uggla struck out, McCann was picked off to erase the threat.

The fourth came in the ninth when Chipper walked to lead off the inning. After Alex Gonzalez bunted him to second (sigh), Matt Young grounded out to move him to third. Brooks Conrad struck out to end the game.

Hanson allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out nine. His curve was on fire today, probably the best I've seen. The high strikeout total resulted in 97 pitches through five innings, 60 for strikes. Chalk it up to another good outing for Hanson, even with the three runs.

George Sherrill allowed two hits with two outs in the sixth; Cristhian Martinez finished the inning. Martinez also pitched a scoreless seventh. Eric O'Flaherty pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three.

R.A. Dickey pitched a scoreless seventh for the Mets. Jason Isringhausen allowed the homer to Heyward in the eighth. Francisco Rodriguez stranded a runner on third for the save.

Thole went 2-4 with two RBI. Ike Davis went 2-3 with a double and RBI. Reyes went 2-4 with a double and scored twice.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Score: Dillon Gee Holds Atlanta To One Run As New York Leads Through Six, 3-1

The curse of the TBA strikes the Braves again, as Dillon Gee has held the Braves to just one run through 5.2 innings as the Mets lead, 3-1.

The Mets started the scoring in the first when Jose Reyes doubled to lead off the game and Josh Thole singled him home. Ike Davis later singled home Thole for two runs in the first. The Braves answered in the second inning with a run when Dan Uggla tripled and Freddie Freeman singled him in.

The Braves loaded the bases with no outs in the same inning. Matt Young popped out to shortstop for the first out. With Tommy Hanson up, Fredi Gonzalez figured it would be a smart idea to call a squeeze with two strikes, which resulted in a strikeout and double play when Eric Hinske was tagged out at home. Perhaps the worst decision of the season.

Neither team managed anything until the fifth, when Reyes and Thole repeated themselves with a single, stolen base and single for New York's third run.

Gee allowed one run on five hits in 5.2 innings, walking two and striking out four. He induced seven groundouts to four flyouts. Gee ran out of gas in the sixth, putting two on with two outs before getting pulled at 89 pitches. Chris Capuano came on and induced a groundout by Chipper Jones for the third out.

Hanson allowed three runs on five hits in five innings, walking two and striking out nine. His curveball was perhaps the best it has been since he has been with the Braves, resulting in nearly half of his strikeouts. Due to the high number of strikeouts, he only lasted five innings while throwing 97 pitches, 60 for strikes.

George Sherrill gave up a double to lead off the sixth, but a bunt resulted in a double play. After allowing an infield single with two outs, Sherrill was pulled for Cristhian Martinez, who got the final out in the inning.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Atlanta Goes For Series Sweep On Getaway Day

The Braves, coming off a doubleheader sweep on Saturday, look to finish the series sweep Sunday as they play the Mets in the final game of the weekend series. Game time is 1:35 on Fox Sports South.

Mets Lineup:
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Josh Thole, C
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Angel Pagan, CF
7. Willie Harris, LF
8. Brad Emaus, 2B
9. Dillon Gee, SP

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, 3B
2. Jason Heyward, RF !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Brian McCann, C
4. Dan Uggla, 2B
5. Eric Hinske, LF
6. Freddie Freeman, 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Matt Young, CF
9. Tommy Hanson, SP

Dillon Gee (AAA: 11.2 IP, 4.63 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 3.86 BB/9, 6.17 K/9)
vs.
Tommy Hanson (16 IP, 3.38 ERA, 4.83 FIP, 4.45 xFIP, 2.81 BB/9, 4.50 K/9, 48 GB%, 5.5 SwStr%)
(56 FB%, 24.6 SL%, 14.7 CB%, 4.8 CH%; 41.8 Swing%, 85.7 Contact%)

Tommy Hanson was a completely different pitcher in his most recent outing, pitching seven shutout innings on four hits against the Marlins, also inducing 13 ground balls. After a rough start to his season, doubts were raised about his effectiveness, but Hanson shut that down against Florida. His fastball command was a thousand times improved, and he used his slider more effectively.

Dillon Gee is getting the call up to replace the disabled Chris Young. Gee has 33 innings of major league experience from 2010, where he posted a 2.18 ERA despite walking 15 and striking out 17. Gee gets grounders with a moving fastball, and while his BB/9 rates have risen somewhat through the minors, they remain solid. Look for a mix of fastballs, changeups and sliders, with no true strikeout pitch.

Opposing Numbers:
The Braves don't have a ton of experience against Gee. Alex Gonzalez is 1-2 with a double and two RBI. Brian McCann also has a double. That's about it.

Hanson has pitched the Mets well for the most part. David Wright is 1-13, Josh Thole is 3-11, Ike Davis is 1-9 and Carlos Beltran is 0-8. Willie Harris, of course, is 4-9, and Jose Reyes is 3-8. Angel Pagan is 2-7.

What to Look For:
Taking advantage of another spot starter. Gee is actually a real starter, but he's making a spot start from AAA and the Braves need to jump on him early. Perhaps the most important thing is receiving a second straight good outing from Hanson.

And yes, Jason Heyward is hitting second today with the start of Matt Young in center field. Will it continue? Who knows. But I'll enjoy it for today, at least.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Jair Jurrjens Steals The Show In Season Debut

Saturday, April 16
(4-9) New York Mets - 2
(5-8) Atlanta Braves - 4

(4-10) New York Mets - 0
(6-8) Atlanta Braves - 4

Two Strong Pitching Performances:
The Braves took advantage of the doubleheader by receiving two great pitching performances from Derek Lowe and Jair Jurrjens.

Lowe received eight ground balls to three fly balls and three line drives, resulting in six innings of two-run ball on five hits, walking two and striking out four. After a tremendous start to the season with the strikeout rate, it has come down to earth somewhat over the last two starts. But that doesn't take away from just four singles and one double over six innings against the Mets.

Jurrjens had what I'm sure will prove as one of his best outings of the year in his season debut, pitching seven shutout innings on two hits, walking one and striking out four. He retired the minimum through five innings and allowed just three baserunners, one on a double, one on a single and one walk. Two of the three were erased by a caught stealing and pickoff, and the other was stranded.

Jurrjens worked inside well, as he is accustomed to doing when he is confident in his stuff. He threw a large amount of cut fastballs and changeups, both of which were effective and kept hitters off balance. The fastball ranged 88-92 MPH, while the changeup had some tumbling action to it at around 82 MPH. The slider was hit or miss with the bite at times, but he didn't leave it over the plate, which is the most important thing.

If Jurrjens is working his moving fastball in on right-handers at a consistent rate, there is a good chance he will have a good day. That is a pretty solid indicator of his stuff that day.

Stat of the Day:
The Braves recorded a .440 BABIP in the second game.

The Game Changer:
In the first game, Willie Harris doubled home a run in the sixth to bring the Mets to within a run, worth .137 WPA.

In the second game, Dan Uggla singled in a run in the first inning for a 1-0 score, worth .096 WPA.

WPA Winners (both games):
(ATL) Jair Jurrjens: .340 (2nd game)
(ATL) Alex Gonzalez: .159 (1st game)
(ATL) Derek Lowe: .135 (1st game)

WPA Losers (both games):
(NYM) D.J. Carrasco: -.161 (1st game)
(NYM) Mike Pelfrey: -.157 (2nd game)
(NYM) David Wright: -.156 (1st game)

Courtesy of FanGraphs:

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Final Score: Jair Jurrjens Pitches Seven Shutout Innings As Braves Win 4-0, Sweeping Doubleheader

Jair Jurrjens allowed just two hits over seven shutout innings to lead the Braves to a 4-0 win over the Mets, sweeping the doubleheader.

Jurrjens faced the minimum through five innings; he gave up a single to Willie Harris in the second but was erased by a pickoff. The only other hit allowed was a double to Daniel Murphy in the sixth, but Murphy was caught stealing third with no outs and down by three.

Jurrjens walked one and struck out four through seven innings. He threw 100 pitches, 58 for strikes, and induced an equal amount of groundouts and flyouts. He didn't allow a single line drive.

Behind Jurrjens, George Sherrill faced three lefties and retired all three in the eighth. Scott Linebrink pitched a scoreless ninth.

Offensively, the Braves had their BABIP normalize in this game, as several bloops and grounders found holes for four runs. Atlanta had 11 hits but only one for extra bases. Eric Hinske went 3-4 with one RBI. Chipper Jones went 2-3 with one RBI. Dan Uggla and David Ross each had one RBI. Martin Prado added two hits, including a double, and scored twice.

The total BABIP for the Braves: .440.

Mike Pelfrey was the victim of the BABIP, allowing 11 hits and four runs in five innings, walking one and striking out three. He didn't pitch bad, inducing nine groundouts to one flyout and three line drives. Most of the hits were not hard hit, but they resulted in four runs.

Pedro Beato pitched two perfect innings behind Pelfrey, striking out three. Taylor Buchholz pitched a scoreless eighth.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Score: Jair Jurrjens Retires New York In Order Through Five As Atlanta Leads, 3-0

Jair Jurrjens has allowed just one hit through five shutout innings as the Braves lead the Mets, 3-0.

The Braves got on the board in the first inning when Dan Uggla poked a single to right field that brought home Chipper Jones after consecutive singles by Jones and Eric Hinske with two outs. After a scoreless second, Atlanta added a run in the third when Chipper Jones singled in Martin Prado following Prado's single and advancement on a bunt.

The third run came in the fifth when Hinske blooped in a single to bring home Prado.

Jurrjens' lone hit allowed was a single by Willie Harris in the second, which was erased by a pickoff. He has retired the Mets in order through five innings, not walking any and striking out two. He has retired 15 of 16 in the game.

Jurrjens is sitting at 68 pitches, 42 for strikes. He has induced six groundouts to six flyouts. The fastball has ranged 88-92 MPH and the slider has shown good bite. The changeup has also been impressive.

For the Mets, Mike Pelfrey has allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings, walking one and striking out three. His control has been pretty solid, and he has induced nine groundouts to one flyout. However, grounders have found holes for the Braves to the tune of several hits.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Jair Jurrjens Set To Make Season Debut In Second Game Of Doubleheader

The Braves won the first game of the doubleheader against the Mets behind four solo home runs, defeating the division rivals, 4-2. The second game is scheduled to around 7:40 on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South.

Mets Lineup:
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Angel Pagan, CF
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Willie Harris, LF
7. Daniel Murphy, 2B
8. Mike Nickeas, C
9. Mike Pelfrey, SP

Braves Lineup:
1.Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Eric Hinske, 1B
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. David Ross, C
9. Jair Jurrjens, SP

Mike Pelfrey (11.2 IP, 10.80 ERA, 6.85 FIP, 6.53 xFIP, 6.94 BB/9, 4.63 K/9, 43.5 GB%, 5.8 SwStr%)
(65.3 FB%, 16.6 SF%, 12.7 SL%, 5.4 CB%; 44.2 Swing%, 85.1 Contact%)
vs.
Jair Jurrjens (2010: 116.1 IP, 4.64 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.29 xFIP, 3.25 BB/9, 6.65 K/9, 39.9 GB%, 8.9 SwStr%)
(63.9 FB%, 20.2 CH%, 15.9 SL%; 47.8 Swing%, 80.8 Contact%)

Mike Pelfrey hasn't been the pitcher the Mets were hoping we would be early in the season. In need of a frontline starter with the absence of Johan Santana, New York was counting heavily on Pelfrey to lead the staff, but it hasn't happened so far. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his first three starts, totaling 11.2 innings. His most recent was four runs in 5.1 innings against the Rockies. His control has also been off, walking four in two of the three starts.

Jair Jurrjens will receive his first start of the season in the Saturday afternoon game. He suffered a strained oblique during Spring Training and was placed on the disabled list as a precaution. Jurrjens made a rehab start in AAA Gwinnett on Monday, allowing three runs in six innings, including two walks and a homer. He may fight some rust in the early innings, but getting him back on the mound and working six innings is the most important thing.

Opposing Numbers:
Several Braves batters have crushed Mike Pelfrey in the past. Dan Uggla and Martin Prado are both hitting over .400 against him. Chipper Jones is at .385 with three home runs. Nate McLouth is 4-14 and Eric Hinske is 4-11.

Jair Jurrjens has fared well against Mets hitters. David Wright, Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes are all hitting below .250 against him. Willie Harris is 6-12.

What to Look For:
The career numbers favor the Braves, but as we all know, that only means so much for a single baseball game. If it comes down to benches and bullpens, the Braves have the advantage. Look to see how Jurrjens fares in his first outing of the season.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Final Score: Four Solo Homers Propel Braves To 4-2 Victory In First Game Of Doubleheader

Four solo home runs helped lead the Braves to a 4-2 win in the first game of a doubleheader against the Mets.

All four of Atlanta's runs came on long balls. Alex Gonzalez recorded two of them, while Chipper Jones and Freddie Freeman added one each.

The Braves had just six hits total, so only two were not home runs. One was a Dan Uggla infield single and the other was a single by Nate McLouth. Brian McCann added two walks. The Braves left eight on base.

Braves starter Derek Lowe pitched six innings of two-run ball on five hits, walking two and striking out four. Only one hit allowed was not a single, and that resulted in a run on a Willie Harris RBI double. Lowe threw 99 pitches, inducing seven groundouts to three flyouts.

Eric O'Flaherty walked two and received two outs in the seventh. With two on and two outs, Scott Linebrink got David Wright to fly out to end the inning. Jonny Venters pitched a scoreless eighth, walking one and striking out two. Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

Mets starter D.J. Carrasco entered the day with a 85-pitch limit, and he hit it at 3.2 innings. He allowed three runs - all homers - on four hits, walking three and striking out two. Pat Misch gave up a run on a homer - his only hit allowed - in two innings, walking one and striking out two. Bobby Parnell gave up a hit and two walks in two innings, but he struck out three.

Harris and Jose Reyes had the two RBIs for the Mets. New York had just five hits, and only one was for extra bases.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves Score: Freddie Freeman Homer Gives Braves 4-2 Lead Through Six Innings

The Mets scored a run in the fifth and sixth to come back to within one through 5 1/2, but Freddie Freeman went deep in the home half to make it 4-2 Braves through six innings.

Two singles by the Mets set up a fielder's choice RBI for Jose Reyes in the fifth when he beat out a double play. New York added a run in the sixth on a RBI double by Willie Harris to bring them back to within one.

Freeman gave the Braves a little breathing room with a solo homer in the home half of the sixth. Atlanta has scored all four of their runs on solo home runs.

Derek Lowe finished his day with six innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out four. He threw 99 pitches and was set to face the top of the order by the end of the seventh, so it was a smart move. Lowe ended the day with seven groundouts and three flyouts.

Pat Misch gave up the home run to Freeman in the sixth. He has pitched both the fifth and sixth innings, with the homer his only hit allowed.

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Mets Vs. Braves Score: Three Solo Homers Put Atlanta Ahead 3-0 Through Four Innings

Three solo homers, two by Alex Gonzalez, has the Braves ahead of the Mets through four innings, 3-0.

The Braves have four hits through four innings, three of which resulted in runs on home runs. Chipper Jones came first, a solo shot to left field on a cutter left up in the zone in the first inning. Gonzalez's first came in the second inning on a hanging curveball. His second came in the fourth on a cutter left up.

Mets starter D.J. Carrasco hit his 85-pitch limit after 3.2 innings. He was gassed by the end of it, walking Derek Lowe and leaving most of his pitches up. He gave up three runs on four hits, walking three and striking out two. Ryota Igarashi came on to relieve Carrasco, recording the final out in the fourth.

Lowe has four shutout innings on two hits, walking one and striking out two. He has five groundouts to three flyouts. An error extended one of the innings and has led to a 60-pitch count through four innings.

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Mets Vs. Braves Game Rained Out, Saturday Doubleheader Scheduled

The series opener between the Mets and Braves is postponed due to rain. The two teams will make the game up as a doubleheader Saturday, starting at the original time of 4:00 on FOX.

The probables and lineups should remain the same for the first game. D.J. Carrasco will face Derek Lowe in the series opener, while Mike Pelfrey will face Jair Jurrjens in the second game. A few starters might be swapped around due to playing two games, such as David Ross getting a start in place of Brian McCann in one game.

The favorable matchup the Braves are expecting between Carrasco and Lowe won't be affected by the rain. It could favor the Braves even more considering the Mets bullpen will be taxed after the first game, and it will have to do it all over again 30 minutes later.

The weather is expected to clear out by game time in Atlanta. It should be clear and cool for the afternoon.

As mentioned above, the first game is shown nationally on FOX. The second game will broadcast on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South beginning 30 minutes after the first game ends.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Atlanta Sports Favorable Matchup For Series Opener

The Braves and Mets begin a three-game series in Atlanta with a favorable matchup for the home team. The first game of the series begins at 7:35 on Peachtree TV and Fox Sports South.

Mets Lineup:
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Angel Pagan, CF
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Willie Harris, LF
7. Brad Emaus, 2B
8. Josh Thole, C
9. D.J. Carrasco, SP

Braves Lineup:
1. Martin Prado, LF
2. Nate McLouth, CF
3. Chipper Jones, 3B
4. Brian McCann, C
5. Dan Uggla, 2B
6. Jason Heyward, RF
7. Alex Gonzalez, SS
8. Freddie Freeman, 1B
9. Derek Lowe, SP

D.J. Carrasco (6.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 4.05 BB/9, 5.40 K/9, 42.9 GB%, 6.3 SwStr%)
(41.5 CT%, 30.2 FB%, 24.5 CB%, 3.8 CH%; 41.9 Swing%, 84.1 Contact%)
vs.
Derek Lowe (18.2 IP, 1.45 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 2.97 xFIP, 2.41 BB/9, 7.23 K/9, 59.6 GB%, 8.7 SwStr%)
(45.3 FB%, 28.6 SL%, 17.7 CH%, 8.4 CT%; 41.1 Swing%, 78.7 Contact%)

D.J. Carrasco is receiving a spot start due to Chris Young's bicep tendinitis. He has pitched all of 6.2 relief innings this year, allowing three runs on seven hits. The 34-year-old has thrown a lot of cutters in his limited amount of innings while abandoning the slider. For a reliever, Carrasco throws a wide assortment of pitches, which plays well for these spot starts.

Derek Lowe backed off some on the strikeouts in his last start, but he continued to pitch well by allowing just two runs in seven innings against the Phillies. The one knock on the start was a large amount of fly balls, but he also induced his normal amount of ground balls, and the slider remained effective.

Opposing Numbers:
Eric Hinske has destroyed D.J. Carrasco at 3-6, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI. Unfortunately, Hinske isn't playing. Otherwise, the Braves have almost no experience against Carrasco.

David Wright is the only Mets starter with success against Derek Lowe at 10-31 with three doubles and a homer. Carlos Beltran, Willie Harris, Angel Pagan and Jose Reyes are all hitting below .250 against Lowe. Josh Thole is 4-9 with three RBI.

What to Look For:
The Braves have a favorable matchup with the Mets plucking a reliever from the bullpen for a spot start against Atlanta's hottest pitcher. It is likely that New York could go to the bullpen early, taxing it for the rest of the series.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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Mets Vs. Braves: Rival Mets Visit Atlanta For A Weekend Series

Following a third straight series loss, the Atlanta Braves wrap up their homestand with a weekend series against the New York Mets.

After taking the first game of the series against the Marlins in a well-played 5-0 win, the Braves faltered against Josh Johnson in game two, and the pitching couldn't hold up despite a breakout of the bats in game three. Atlanta sits at 5-8, fourth in the division behind the Mets.

New York has followed a similar path to the Braves so far, winning their first series but losing every one since. They were on the losing end of a four-game sweep by the Rockies in their most recent series, including two straight losses on a doubleheader Thursday. The Mets sit at 4-9, fifth in the division.

Friday, April 15 - 7:35 (Peachtree TV/Fox Sports South)
D.J. Carrasco (6.2 IP, 4.05 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 4.81 xFIP, 4.05 BB/9, 5.40 K/9, 42.9 GB%, 6.3 SwStr%)
(41.5 CT%, 30.2 FB%, 24.5 CB%, 3.8 CH%; 41.9 Swing%, 84.1 Contact%)
vs.
Derek Lowe (18.2 IP, 1.45 ERA, 2.97 FIP, 2.97 xFIP, 2.41 BB/9, 7.23 K/9, 59.6 GB%, 8.7 SwStr%)
(45.3 FB%, 28.6 SL%, 17.7 CH%, 8.4 CT%; 41.1 Swing%, 78.7 Contact%)

D.J. Carrasco is receiving a spot start due to Chris Young's bicep tendinitis. He has pitched all of 6.2 relief innings this year, allowing three runs on seven hits. The 34-year-old has thrown a lot of cutters in his limited amount of innings while abandoning the slider. For a reliever, Carrasco throws a wide assortment of pitches, which plays well for these spot starts.

Derek Lowe backed off some on the strikeouts in his last start, but he continued to pitch well by allowing just two runs in seven innings against the Phillies. The one knock on the start was a large amount of fly balls, but he also induced his normal amount of ground balls, and the slider remained effective.

Saturday, April 16 - 4:10 (FOX)
Mike Pelfrey (11.2 IP, 10.80 ERA, 6.85 FIP, 6.53 xFIP, 6.94 BB/9, 4.63 K/9, 43.5 GB%, 5.8 SwStr%)
(65.3 FB%, 16.6 SF%, 12.7 SL%, 5.4 CB%; 44.2 Swing%, 85.1 Contact%)
vs.
Jair Jurrjens (2010: 116.1 IP, 4.64 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.29 xFIP, 3.25 BB/9, 6.65 K/9, 39.9 GB%, 8.9 SwStr%)
(63.9 FB%, 20.2 CH%, 15.9 SL%; 47.8 Swing%, 80.8 Contact%)

Mike Pelfrey hasn't been the pitcher the Mets were hoping we would be early in the season. In need of a frontline starter with the absence of Johan Santana, New York was counting heavily on Pelfrey to lead the staff, but it hasn't happened so far. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his first three starts, totaling 11.2 innings. His most recent was four runs in 5.1 innings against the Rockies. His control has also been off, walking four in two of the three starts.

Jair Jurrjens will receive his first start of the season in the Saturday afternoon game. He suffered a strained oblique during Spring Training and was placed on the disabled list as a precaution. Jurrjens made a rehab start in AAA Gwinnett on Monday, allowing three runs in six innings, including two walks and a homer. He may fight some rust in the early innings, but getting him back on the mound and working six innings is the most important thing.

Sunday, April 17 - 1:35 (Fox Sports South)
Chris Young (12.1 IP, 1.46 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 4.40 xFIP, 4.38 BB/9, 8.76 K/9, 20 GB%, 8.5 SwStr%)
(68.9 FB%, 15.3 SL%, 13.9 CH%, 1.9 CB%; 45.4 Swing%, 80.7 Contact%)
vs.
Tommy Hanson (16 IP, 3.38 ERA, 4.83 FIP, 4.45 xFIP, 2.81 BB/9, 4.50 K/9, 48 GB%, 5.5 SwStr%)
(56 FB%, 24.6 SL%, 14.7 CB%, 4.8 CH%; 41.8 Swing%, 85.7 Contact%)

Chris Young will pitch Sunday's game instead of Friday due to bicep tendinitis. He pitched a successful bullpen session Thursday and is deemed ready. The Mets need him healthy, because he has been their best starter to date, allowing only one run in each of his first two starts, including just one hit in seven innings against the Nationals last time out. Young is throwing a lot more changeups early in the season while backing off on the fastball some. All of his main pitches have been effective so far.

Tommy Hanson was a completely different pitcher in his most recent outing, pitching seven shutout innings on four hits against the Marlins, also inducing 13 ground balls. After a rough start to his season, doubts were raised about his effectiveness, but Hanson shut that down against Florida. His fastball command was a thousand times improved, and he used his slider more effectively.

The Mets bullpen has been up and down so far. Francisco Rodriguez has appeared in a limited number of games due to the team's losses, as well as the games finished clause the team is trying to avoid. Bobby Parnell has fallen out of favor as the setup guy, and Jason Isringhausen is among those expected to step up. Pedro Beato has stepped up with seven scoreless innings so far.

Projected Mets Lineup:
1. Jose Reyes, SS
2. Daniel Murphy, 2B
3. David Wright, 3B
4. Carlos Beltran, RF
5. Ike Davis, 1B
6. Angel Pagan, CF
7. Willie Harris, LF
8. Josh Thole, C

The Mets infield remains strong with Wright, Reyes, Murphy and Davis. The outfield leaves a little to be desired with Harris in left field, but Beltran and Pagan make up for it some. The lineup isn't as weak as people make it out to be, but it's a matter of keeping up with how many runs the pitching staff gives up.

For more on the series, Braves fans check out Talking Chop and Mets fans check out Amazin Avenue.

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