Braves Vs. Mets: Tim Hudson Struggles, Atlanta Loses Second Straight Series

The Braves will look to gain ground in the NL East while facing their old NL East rivals in New York.

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Braves Vs. Mets Series Recap: Atlanta Loses Series, Offense Struggles

After a thrilling late-inning victory on Friday, the Braves bats were silenced (for the most part) on Saturday and Sunday. No offense to either pitcher, but Dillon Gee and R.A. Dickey shouldn't be shutting this offense down. Yes, they're missing Jason Heyward and yes, Dan Uggla isn't hitting, but this club simply has more talent than the Mets and should have won this series with little problem.

Here is the Good, Bad and Ugly from this weekend's series at Citi Field:

The Good:

The Braves rally late on Friday night - The team wasn't hitting well and despite a decent start from Derek Lowe, they still trailed 3-1 after seven innings. Chipper Jones hit a mammoth home run to left field to reduce the Mets lead to 3-2 and Dan Uggla came around to score the tying run after a Jose Reyes error. Eric Hinske hit the go-ahead home run in the 9th and Freddie Freeman delivered some much needed insurance with a 2-run double to give Atlanta a 6-3 lead. Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the bottom half of the ninth and the Braves took the first game.

Jair Jurrjens - The kid deserved to win. He was in a groove until Alex Gonzalez committed an error in the seventh inning which was the opening of the flood gates. The next four batters reached base and Jose Reyes capped the inning off with a 3-run triple to make the score 5-0. More on this in a little.

Diory Hernandez's 3-run homer - There were approximately six Braves fans still watching at the time of the home run, but Diory came to the plate in the ninth and kept the game alive. We didn't win, but he at least made it interesting. Props for hitting off Francisco Rodriguez. He's almost as bad as Jose Reyes and Shane Victorino.

The Bad:

Alex Gonzalez's error - It's already been covered above, but this play completely changed the game. Jair was comfortable on the mound and was breezing through the Mets lineup. He had to pitch out of the stretch and was clearly distracted. Gonzalez has been great this year, but that one hurt.

Tim Hudson - Huddy settled down a bit as the game carried on, but his sinker wasn't sinking in the early going and he paid for it. The Mets scored five runs off him in just four innings and he allowed seven hits and a walk. 

The Ugly:

Jordan Schafer's Injury - Thank goodness he's OK, but it was pretty terrifying to watch as the play unfolded on Friday night. The Braves have already been hit hard by injuries and the last thing they need is for yet another player to go down to injury. He was back in the lineup for Sunday night's game.

Fredi Gonzalez - We've all criticized him for preaching aggressiveness at the plate, his addiction to bunting and his insistence on stealing bases despite our success rate of like 0.04%, but his bullpen management in the seventh inning of Saturday's game was awful. With a score of just 1-0 and the bases loaded, one would imagine it was the perfect opportunity to bring in Jonny Venters, who might just be the best reliever in Major League Baseball. Instead, he brought in Scott Proctor who has sucked since....well, 2005. The result? Proctor promptly gave up a bases clearing triple to Jose Reyes. Nice call, Fredi. Literally every Braves fan in the entire country saw the disaster coming the moment Proctor came into the game. This one isn't even on the reliever. It's on the manager for his piss-poor bullpen management. 

Up Next:

The Braves have an off-day on Monday and will continue their road trip in Florida against the Marlins

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Braves Vs. Mets Final Score: Tim Hudson Struggles, Atlanta Falls 6-4

Diory Hernandez hit a three-run pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning but it wasn't enough to help lift the Braves over the Mets who fell 6-4. Tim Hudson struggled with location and got hit hard in the first few innings for Atlanta who drops its second straight game. 

New York struck first plating two runs in the first inning. Jose Reyes led off with a solid single before Carlos Beltran doubled him on for the Mets first run of the night. Daniel Murphy followed with a single and Beltran scored on an Angel Pagan sacrifice fly to Jordan Schafer in center. 

The Mets went right back to work in the second inning. Jason Pridie led off with a single. Hudson then retired the next two batters before walking Jose Reyes. Justin Turner followed with an RBI single to right scoring Pridie to give New York a 3-0 lead against Hudson. Reyes made the score 4-0 after scoring on a Hudson wild pitch. 

Hudson was replaced after four innings of work and New York added yet another insurance run against his replacement Cristhian Martinez. Two singles and a walk quickly loaded the bases for the Mets against Martinez. After a couple of fly outs, Martinez walked Ruben Tejada forcing home Willie Harris to make the score 5-0. 

Atlanta would score its first run of the night in the seventh when Brian McCann led off the inning with his seventh home run of the season against Mets starter R.A. Dickey. The Braves would make things further interesting in the ninth facing former Atlanta reliever Manny Acosta. Martin Prado walked to lead off the inning and Brian McCann flied out to left. Freddie Freeman then doubled to deep right putting runners at second and third for Atlanta with just one out. 

Francisco Rodriguez replaced Acosta on the mound and pinch hitter Diory Hernandez stepped into the box and delivered a pinch hit three run home run to deep left field making the score 6-4. However, Atlanta would get no closer as Eric Hinske and Joe Mather struck out to end the game. 

Tim Hudson falls to 4-5 on the season after allowing seven hits and five runs in just four innings of work. Hudson walked one and struck out five. 

R.A. Dickey gets his third win of the season (3-6) allowing one run and four hits over eight innings of work. The knuckleballer walked one and struck out three. 

Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman each had two hits for Atlanta. Jose Reyes had two hits, scored two runs, and drove home a run for the Mets. 

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Braves Vs. Mets Score Update: Atlanta's Offense Still Struggling, Trailing New York 4-0 In Third Inning

After being shut down for nine innings on Saturday night by Dillion Gee, the Braves' offense is sputtering once again against R.A. Dickey. The club is currently trailing the Mets 4-0 after three innings.

Tim Hudson got the start for the Braves and is struggling to keep his sinker down in the strike zone. He's been hit well by the Mets and they've capitalized with runners in scoring position. Carlos Beltran got the Mets on the board with an RBI-double in the first inning and Angel Pagan drove him in with a deep sacrifice fly to center field. New York added onto their 2-0 lead with an RBI-single courtesy of Justin Turner and then a wild pitch from Tim Hudson brought in Jose Reyes from third.

The Braves have just one hit in three innings and that was a bloop single by Freddie Freeman. Through three innings, R.A. Dickey has thrown 38 pitches. In contrast, Tim Hudson has thrown 51.

Atlanta will need to mount a comeback if they hope to avoid a series loss to the fourth place Mets. 

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Braves Vs. Mets Final Score: Atlanta Offense Sputters, Fall 5-0 To New York

Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens surrendered more than two runs for the first time this season as the Braves fell 5-0 to the Mets. Jose Reyes provided the big blow with a bases loaded triple in the seventh. The loss at least temporarily drops Atlanta three games behind the Philadelphia Phillies and one game back of Florida in the National League East. 

Mets starter Dillon Gee was the story in this one as he pitched seven scoreless innings while surrendering just four hits. Gee walked two and struck out two. Atlanta got the lead off man on in each of the first, third, and fifth innings but couldn't score. Their best chance came in the fifth when Dan Uggla led off with a double. Uggla advanced to third on an Eric Hinske fly out to right. Joe Mather walked to give the Braves runners at the corners with one out. Jurrjens sacrificed Mather to second before Martin Prado ended the inning by grounding to short. 

Jurrjens pitched well for the Braves but ran into trouble in the seventh inning. An Angel Pagan ground out started the inning before Jason Bay reached on an error by Alex Gonzalez. Catcher Josh Thole followed with a double giving the Mets runners at second and third with only one out. Ruben Tejeda reached to load the bases after being hit by a pitch from Jurrjens.

With the bases loaded and one out, New York sent pinch hitter Jason Pridle to the plate to bat for Gee. He responded with a single to right scoring Bay and giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. Fredi Gonzalez replaced Jurrjens with reliever Scott Proctor who immediately gave up a triple to Jose Reyes that cleared the bases and extended the Mets lead to 4-0. Justin Turner followed with a sacrifice fly to score Reyes before Carlos Beltran flied out to end the inning. 

Jurrjens surrendered four runs in 6.1 innings pitched although only three were earned. He struck out six and didn't walk a batter. He falls to 7-2 on the season. Dillon Gee improves his record on the season to a perfect 6-0 for the Mets. 

Atlanta only mustered four hits in the game while New York's Josh Thole and Daniel Murphy had two apiece. Reyes' triple was his Major League Leading 10th of the season. 

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Braves Vs. Mets Final Score: Freddie Freeman And Eric Hinske Lead Atlanta Past New York 6-3

Atlanta rallied late for five runs in the eighth and ninth innings to capture a 6-3 victory over the New York Mets. Jonny Venters earned his fourth win of the season in relief of Derek Lowe. Francisco Rodriguez took the loss for the Mets after allowing three runs in the ninth inning. 

Atlanta struck first in the second inning and Freddie Freeman got things started with a single to center field. After Dan Uggla flied out to right, Alex Gonzalez doubled giving the Braves runners at second and third. Joe Mather then reached on an infield single that scored Freeman and gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. 

Derek Lowe breezed through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. Jose Reyes led off the inning with a triple to right. After a ground out, Carlos Beltran tied the score with an RBI single. Lowe then walked Jason Bay and the Mets took the lead on a Daniel Murphy single. New York would tack on another run in the inning when Bay scored on an Angel Pagan single making the score 3-1.

Atlanta wouldn't score again until the eighth when Chipper Jones led off the inning with his fifth home run of the season off of Mets starter Jonathan Niese. After retiring the next two batters, Niese was replaced by righty Jason Isringhausen who immediately walked Dan Uggla. After a wild pitch moved Uggla to second, Alex Gonzalez hit a ground ball that skipped past Jose Reyes at short enabling Atlanta to tie the game at 3-3.

Francisco Rodriguez came in to pitch the ninth for the Mets and got pinch hitter Matt Young to fly out to start the inning. Eric Hinske then hit a towering home run to right that gave the Braves back the lead at 4-3. Hinske replaced Jordan Schafer in the lineup after Schafer was injured when he fouled a ball off his face on a bunt attempt in the fifth inning.

Martin Prado followed Hinske's blast with a double but Chipper Jones struck out for the second out of the inning. With first base open, the Mets elected to intentionally walk Brian McCann to get to Freddie Freeman. Freeman then gave the Braves some insurance with a double to left-center field that scored both Prado and McCann extending the lead to 6-3.

Craig Kimbrel came on in the ninth to record his 17th save of the season. That total is the most ever for a NL rookie before the All-Star Break.

Derek Lowe allowed three runs in six innings of work. He allowed seven hits while walking and striking out one batter. Mets starter Jonathan Niese surrendered eight hits and two runs in 7.2 innings pitched. He walked one and struck out seven. Neither pitcher figured in the decision.

Jonny Venters gets the win with a scoreless inning of relief while Francisco Rodriguez takes the loss after allowing three runs in the ninth.

Freddie Freeman raises his average to .278 with three more hits including two doubles and two RBI's. Martin Prado and Chipper Jones each had two hits apiece. Jose Reyes, Daniel Murphy, and Angel Pagan all had two hits for the Mets.

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Braves Vs. Mets: Atlanta Turns To Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens and Tim Hudson For A Series Win

The Braves were a little inconsistent in the month of May, but they still managed to go 17-11 against some tough competition. It is now June and it's time for the big boys to establish themselves and the others to fade away into the dog days of summer.

After years of poor management, the Mets are a club currently in the earliest stages of rebuilding a proud franchise. They have ridden themselves of high-dollar guys such as Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo and their lineup consists of multiple no-name players who are filling in for the time being. Despite these personnel changes, New York's record is still a respectable 26-30 and won a wild game on Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Let's take a closer look at their team:

Offense:

Despite a lineup consisting of a bunch of guys who would usually be playing in the Minor Leagues, the Mets have been a solid bunch at the plate. The lineup has been fluctuating in recent days, but manager Terry Collins will likely give us something similar to this:

Jose Reyes - SS
Justin Turner - 3B
Carlos Beltran - RF
Jason Bay - LF
Angel Pagan - CF
Daniel Murphy - 1B
Ronny Paulino - C
Ruben Tejada - 2B

With All-Star third baseman David Wright on the disabled list, shortstop Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have picked up the slack and are both enjoying big years. Reyes (.333/.382/.489, .385 wOBA, 145 wRC+) is due for some regression with his BABIP being unsustainable at .362, though his 19 stolen bases have him tied for second place among everyone in baseball. Beltran (.288/.374/.534, .391 wOBA, 149 wRC+) has carried the club offensively and his power (.246 ISO) has been really impressive in 2011.

Despite not getting the recognition he should, second year first baseman Ike Davis has had a monster season. Unfortunately for him, he recently sprained his ankle and will likely miss three weeks. Davis (.302/.383/.543, .395 wOBA, 151 wRC+) originally projected to be an above-average player, and while he's been a tad lucky this year (.344 BABIP), he's still on pace to solidify himself as one of the better young first baseman in the league assuming he can stay healthy. In addition to Davis, utility man Daniel Murphy is enjoying a nice season (.293/.352/.425, .342 wOBA, 116 wRC+) and will play all over the field.

Jason Bay and Angel Pagan are two of the more well-known names in the Mets lineup and neither are having a very good year. Bay (.228/.320/.307, .290 wOBA, 80 wRC+) has battled injuries the last two seasons and is off to a slow start in 2011. Pagan was a nice surprise for the club last year, but he's struggling thus far (.224/.297/.306, .279 wOBA, 73 wRC+).

Pitching Matchups:

This is where the Mets start to fall off. Jonathon Niese has been their most valuable starting pitcher at 0.7 fWAR. Same goes for Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez as far as relievers go. To give you an idea of how that compares to the Braves, these two pitchers would rank seventh in terms of WAR on the Braves pitching staff. Seventh.

Friday, 7:10EDT: Derek Lowe Vs. Jonathon Niese (SportsSouth)

Lowe: 3-4, 4.03 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 3.33 xFIP, 67.0 IP, 7.79 K/9, 3.63 BB/9, .299 BABIP, 55.8 GB%, 1.0 fWAR

Niese: 4-5, 3.92 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 66.2 IP, 6.75 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, .305 BABIP, 49.5 GB%, 0.7 fWAR 

We all know about our own starters so I'll focus on New York's. Jonathon Niese has arguably been the Mets best pitcher. The 24-year old lefty features a high-80's, low-90's fastball, a cutter, a solid curveball and a decent change, which he'll use on occasion to get a tough right-handed batter out. He won't "wow" you with any pitches, but if history tells us anything it's the Braves struggle with young, left-handed pitchers and there's no reason to believe Friday will be any different.

Saturday, 7:10EDT: Jair Jurrjens Vs. Dillon Gee (SportsSouth)

Jurrjens: 7-1, 1.51 ERA, 2.93 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, 65.1 IP, 5.21 K/9, 1.51 BB/9, .262 BABIP, 47.0 GB%, 1.6 fWAR

Gee: 5-0, 3.83 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 4.06 xFIP, 47.0 IP, 7.09 K/9, 3.45 BB/9, .241 BABIP, 45.9 GB%, 0.5 fWAR

Similar to Jair Jurrjens, Dillon Gee has had a solid start to his 2011 season, though he has been pretty lucky. Gee features a fastball in the high-80's, a solid changeup which is his out-pitch, and will occasionally work in a curveball or slider. Similar to Jonathon Niese, Gee won't blow you away with any of his pitches, though he is a capable back-end starting pitcher.

Sunday, 8:05EDT: Tim Hudson Vs. R.A. Dickey (ESPN)

Hudson: 4-4, 3.75 ERA, 3.67 FIP, 3.74 xFIP, 72.0 IP, 5.13 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, .247 BABIP, 57.6 GB%, 1.0 fWAR

Dickey: 2-6, 4.93 ERA, 4.16 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 67.2 IP, 5.99 K/9, 3.06 BB/9, .320 BABIP, 56.1 GB%, 0.5 fWAR

R.A. Dickey is a knuckleballer. It's a lost art and it's nice to still have at least one decent pitcher left in the league. He'll throw his knuckleball frequently (75.7%), though he's actually pitched better when he uses his fastball effectively. Dickey will throw an occasional fastball (19.6%) that sits in the low-80's, though when the going gets tough, the Braves should still look for the loopy knuckleball. That's what got him to the Major Leagues and he's not going to stray away from it.

Bullpen:

The Mets bullpen isn't very good. Wild-yet-effective closer Francisco Rodriguez has been their best pitcher out of the 'pen and currently has 16 saves. Set-up man Jason Isringhausen has been decent in the 8th inning and guys like Taylor Buchholz and Pedro Beato have been decent in the middle innings. LOOGY Tim Byrdak has been tough against lefties and we'll likely see him multiple times in this series against Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman.

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