The first place Braves take on the Mets and their dead even 65-65 record at home for four games in a mid-week series. The Braves are fresh off of a series victory against the Florida Marlins, sparked by two ninth inning home runs by Matt Diaz and Brian McCann. Here's a quick preview of the pitching matchups taken from the best Braves blog in the internet, Talking Chop.
Monday, 7:10 pm EST: Jair Jurrjens (5-4, 4.36 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 2.13 K/BB) vs. Pat Misch (0-3, 3.50 ERA, 3.38 FIP, 3.50 K/BB)
Misch only has 18 innings in the majors this season but has been impressive over that short time span. He has lasted six innings in each of his starts, allowing three runs in two of them and one in the other. Jurrjens is coming off of an extremely forgettable performance against the Rockies in which the Braves had a 10-1 lead but lost 12-10, with Jurrjens allowing seven runs over 5.1 innings pitched. Misch is the type of pitcher the Braves often have problems, but he has struggled in 12.1 innings against the Braves in his career, posting a 10.22 ERA.
Tuesday, 7:10 pm EST: Mike Minor (2-0, 4.00 ERA, 2.21 FIP, 5.50 K/BB) vs. Jon Niese (8-6, 3.63 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 2.57 K/BB)
In his career against the Braves, Niese has pitched well. He has a 3.00 ERA over 18 innings and has struck out 18 batters. He has allowed a good amount of baserunners against the Braves but has been able to strand them most of the time. Mike Minor had one of the best pitching days for a Braves rookie in the team's history, which is saying a lot considering how many great pitchers have come through the system. Minor struck out 12 Cubs and walked just one over six innings while allowing three earned runs. He has thrown a quality start, for whatever it's worth, in each of his three starts in the majors.
Wednesday, 7:10 pm EST: Tommy Hanson (8-10, 3.76 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 3.06 K/BB) vs. Mike Pelfrey (13-7, 3.61 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 1.65 K/BB)
Both young starters have had their ups and downs this season. Hanson has looked absolutely dominant in some games and very hittable in others, which is odd to see with a pitcher with such great stuff. Hanson was rolling up until his last two starts, with a 1.71 ERA over 58 innings and nine starts. Since then, Tommy has pitched ten innings and allowed ten runs while striking out seven and walking four. Pelfrey has had a ton of success over his last four starts -- 1.20 ERA over 30 innings and a .561 OPS against. This should be a good pitching matchup, most likely the best of the series.
Thursday, 7:10 pm EST: Tim Hudson (15-5, 2.24 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 1.88 K/BB) vs. Johan Santana (10-9, 3.02 ERA, 3.52 FIP, 2.61 K/BB)
Tim Hudson pitched his best game of the season and one of the best in his career in a 13 strikeout, seven inning, one run performance against the Marlins on Saturday. Huddy had everything going right -- probably due to the shaved beard -- and pushed himself back into the Cy Young conversation after a poor start against the Rockies earlier last week. Santana has pitched well this year, despite the hate he receives in Met country (I reside in it) for not winning ballgames. The Mets seldom score for Santana and I don't expect them to again in the series finale.