If it feels like we just played the Mets, your feeling is correct. It has been just over a week since the last time the Braves and Mets played, but this time it'll be in the friendly confines of Turner Field. New York is practically the same team we saw a week ago that took the series against out club, so let's jump right in.
They're two games below .500 at 32-34 and have won six of their past ten ballgames. New York split their most recent series with the Pirates and are heading down to Atlanta on a 9-game road trip.
The Mets are basically the same team we saw a week ago and their lineup consists of the same guys as last time. Jose Reyes (.342/.386/.524, 398 wOBA, 154 wRC+) is still leading baseball in batting average and is having a huge year. Carlos Beltran (.282/.365/.498, .365 wOBA, 139 wRC+) and Daniel Murphy (.305/.362/.424, .348 wOBA, 120 wRC+) are both having solid years for the club, while veterans Jason Bay (.207/.303/.273, .270 wOBA, 63 wRC+) and Angel Pagan (.243/.312/.338, .300 wOBA, 88 wRC+) have both struggled considerably in 2011.
Rookie third baseman Justin Turner (.284/.333/.397, .327 wOBA, 106 wRC+) has been solid in place of David Wright and catcher Ronny Paulino (.324/.377/.380, .338 wOBA, 113 wRC+) has been a decent surprise thus far. Second baseman Ruben Tejada (.325/.389/.363, .341 wOBA, 116 wRC+) has impressed while taking over for Luis Castillo.
The Mets lineup will look something similar to this:
Reyes - SS
Turner - 3B
Beltran - RF
Pagan - CF
Bay - LF
Paulino - C
Murphy - 1B
Tejada - 2B
Tuesday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - Jonathon Niese Vs. Jair Jurrjens
The left-handed pitcher is still having a fine season in New York and has probably been their best pitcher to date. Niese will throw a fastball that sits right around 90mph, an improving cutter in the high-80's, a big 12-6 curveball and an occasional changeup to a tough right-handed batter. Niese pitched well in his previous start against Atlanta, allowing just two runs to score over the course of 7.2 innings.
Wednesday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - Dillon Gee Vs. Tim Hudson
Gee, who still sits at an undefeated 7-0 record, has impressed a lot of folks in the New York organization this year. The 25-year old righty has been a bit lucky in 2011, but we're almost to a point in the season where it might just be solid pitching instead of bad luck for the opposing hitters. He'll throw a fastball in the high-80's, though he will occasionally touch 93 and 94, a solid changeup, and then a bevy of junk breaking balls. In two starts against Atlanta, he's 2-0 and has allowed just one run to score in 12.2 innings. Let's change that in this series, yeah?
Thursday, 7:10EDT (SportSouth) - R.A. Dickey Vs. Mike Minor
Dickey is coming to town.
Well, R.A. Dickey is at least. The knuckleballer will face the Braves for the second time in two weeks and will likely continue to baffle Atlanta with his nutty knuckleball. He will throw an occasional fastball, but don't expect too many. He held the Braves scoreless in his last start over six strong innings.
The New York bullpen is pretty mediocre. Closer/clown Francisco Rodriguez has recorded 16 saves this year and has been pretty good in the ninth inning. Jason Isringhausen (which I'm being told will be in next year's Scripps Spelling Bee) has been solid in a set-up role with the club. Tim Byrdak, Pedro Beato and Bobby Parnell have all been decent this year, though both Ryota Igarashi and Taylor Buchholz have struggled to record outs this year.
The Mets aren't a bad team and they've been playing better baseball since manager Terry Collins publicly called out the team a few weeks ago. They have their three best pitchers going for them and they can put a few runs on the scoreboard. I actually don't feel too great about this series, but I'll go ahead and say we take two games because the games are in Atlanta.