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Braves vs. Mets Series Preview: It's Time To Pull Away For The Playoffs

With the playoffs beginning in two weeks, the time is now for the Braves to pull away in the standings and solidify their spot in the postseason.

This is a big series for the Atlanta Braves. While the Mets do not have any chance at a playoff run, this weekend's games will give the Braves a chance to further their wild card lead, especially with the Cardinals -- who sit 4.5 games back -- playing four games in Philadelphia.

This is the sixth series against the Mets this season and they are already looking ahead to 2012. Atlanta needs to take advantage of their opponents and continue to play well as they did against the Marlins earlier this week.

As for individual performances, Derek Lowe, who will be on the mound Friday evening, needs to have a solid start tonight. Fredi Gonzalez recently said the team would use Lowe as their No. 2 starter in the playoffs because of his experience and ability to keep the ball on the ground, though it would make Braves Country feel slightly more confident if the inconsistent veteran finished the year off strong. 

Pitching Matchups:

Friday, 7:35 EDT - Derek Lowe vs. Chris Capuano - SportSouth

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Derek Lowe 9-14 31 31 0 0 0 0 174.1 191 96 91 11 67 130 4.70 1.48
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - R.A. Dickey 8-12 31 30 1 0 0 0 194.0 196 83 74 18 47 126 3.43 1.25

Saturday, 4:10 EDT - Tim Hudson vs. R.A. Dickey - FOX

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Tim Hudson 14-10 30 30 1 1 0 0 195.0 170 81 72 14 53 140 3.32 1.14
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - R.A. Dickey 8-12 31 30 1 0 0 0 194.0 196 83 74 18 47 126 3.43 1.25

Sunday, 1:35 EDT - Brandon Beachy vs. Dillon Gee (because what's a Mets series without him, right?) - SportSouth


W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Brandon Beachy 7-2 23 23 0 0 0 0 131.1 115 54 50 16 37 152 3.43 1.16
W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2011 - Dillon Gee 12-6 28 25 1 0 0 0 150.1 133 78 73 17 64 108 4.37 1.31

What To Watch For:


Alex Gonzalez

#2 / Short Stop / Atlanta Braves

5-11

215

R

R

Feb 15, 1977


After not hitting well at all the first four months of the season, Alex Gonzalez looked like a new man against the Marlins earlier this week. While no one quite expects him to hit nearly .700 as he did in the last series, even a decent batting average with a few extra-base hits would be a big boost to the bottom-half of the lineup. It will be interesting if the veteran shortstop will be able to duplicate his success in this series.

Braves Lineup:

Bourn - CF

Chipper - 3B

Freeman - 1B

Uggla - 2B

McCann - C

Diaz - RF

Prado - LF

Gonzalez - SS

Lowe - P

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.