Series Preview: Mets vs. Braves

Amazin' Clubhouse takes a look ahead at the NL East battle between the Amazin's and Braves.

After taking two straight from the Pirates, the Mets (36-29) look to keep the ball rolling at Citi Field against the visiting Atlanta Braves (20-46). Tied for the worst record in the MLB with the Minnesota Twins, the Braves can’t seem to connect the dots at all this year. They did split a four-game set with the Cincinnati Reds, but that is another struggling ball club. The Braves will have their hands full against the Mets who have already beat them five times this year.

7:10 PM Friday: Matt Harvey (4-8, 4.66 ERA) v John Gant (0-1, 5.63 ERA)

            Three starts later and Harvey seems to be in a groove at the moment. He has gone at least six strong innings in each of those starts. In his last, he earned a no-decision even though he only allowed one earned run on two hits while striking out eight. He lost to the Braves last time around, but with confidence on the mound recently, he should be in the driver’s seat in this one.

            Gant, who came up from Triple-A as a reliever, got his first start against the Chicago Cubs last Sunday. He couldn’t stop the best team in the league right now as he went four and one-third innings allowing three runs, two earned before exiting.

Pitching Edge: Harvey without a doubt has the edge against Gant who has yet to prove himself as a starter in the bigs.

8:15 PM Saturday: Steven Matz (7-3, 2.71 ERA) v Aaron Blair (0-4, 7.59 ERA)

            The Milwaukee Brewers took advantage of Matz’s lack of fastball command on Sunday hitting him nine times for five runs, four earned. This was his second straight loss, and he will hope to take advantage of the Braves Saturday night to start a new win streak.

            Blair is still searching for that first win of 2016. If he can’t figure things out, it is just a matter of time before he is demoted back to Triple-A. He faced the Mets on April 24 where he earned a loss after allowing three earned in five and one-third innings.

Pitching Edge: Though Matz lost his past two starts, Blair has been worse. Matz should rebound against the Braves.

Sunday 1:10 PM: Jacob deGrom (3-3, 2.82 ERA) v Julio Teheran (2-7, 2.93 ERA)

            deGrom has also suffered back-to-back losses as the Mets offense hasn’t been the most helpful. These two appearances have been eerily similar as they were both against the Pirates allowing six hits and striking out nine in both of them. The only difference was last start he allowed two earned runs instead of three.

            Teheran may have a 2-7 record, but his 2.93 ERA indicates his offense cannot put runs across for him. In a loss against the Reds last time out, he allowed three earned runs in seven total innings. It seems Teheran has to throw a shutout if he wants to earn a win for his club.

Pitching Edge: With both pitchers not getting any run support, give the edge to deGrom as the Mets could see their bats hot against the Braves.

More About This Series:

            With David Wright possibly out for the rest of the season, GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins will have to figure out who will take the majority of his time on the diamond. For Collins, he can choose between new acquisition Kelly Johnson, prospect Matt Reynolds or Wilmer Flores. Each will likely see some time at the position. Alderson may come into play if these options don’t pan out the way the team hopes. He could make a move at the trade deadline if necessary. The Mets are not new to this situation, though, as Wright was out for most of the 2015 season with spinal stenosis hindering his play.

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