Mets @ Braves Series Preview

After losing two of three to the Marlins in Florida, the New York Mets (29-27) continue their season high 13-game roadtrip in Atlanta Monday with a four-game series against the Braves (31-26). Sitting 1.5 games behind the Braves, the Mets need to build on their early season success in Atlanta.

The Mets took two of three games from the Braves in Atlanta in the season's first week and are 4-2 against the Braves so far this season. However, a lot has changed since the first month of the season and these are two teams heading in different directions.

With a 7-3 loss to the Marlins Sunday, the Mets have lost four of their last six games and are just 5-8 in their last 13 games. On the flip side, the Braves are 12-5 in their last 17 contests and had their three-game winning streak snapped Sunday in a 5-1 loss to the Reds.

Pitching Match Ups

The National League's top two pitching staffs face off for a four game match. Atlanta (3.07 team ERA) leads the league with New York (3.29 team ERA) dropping into second place in the past week.

This could be a huge series for the Mets, and after a series loss to the Marlins to start their 13 game road trip,they look to veteran pitcher Steve Trachsel (3-4, 3.57 ERA) to get them off to a good start. Atlanta will counter with Kevin Millwood (3-5, 4.39 ERA). Millwood looked like a staff ace after his second full season in 1998 by going 18-7 with a 2.68 ERA. He has not been the same since, going 20-25 with an ERA of 4.51.

Game two matches up both teams' most inconsistant starter so far this season with Shawn Estes (2-4, 4.36 ERA) and Jason Marquis (4-3, 4.40 ERA). It is no shame to be the worst starter on either of these squads- especially if you are the 23-year old Marquis who is only in his second season as a starter.

The Mets send their most effective starter, Pedro Astacio (6-2, 2.71 ERA) to the mound on Wednesday to face Greg Maddux (6-2, 2.98 ERA). Even though Maddux has pitched well, he has not pitched like himself this season.

In 60.1 innings, he has only struck out 32 batters, but has walked 19. He is on pace to issue 55 walks this season, which for the average pitcher is very good, but it would be Maddux's highest total since 1992 when he played for the Cubs.

The series closes out with Jeff D'Amico (4-4, 3.45 ERA) against arguably the best pitcher in the majors this year, Tom Glavine (9-2, 1.57 ERA). Glavine has never pitched better, and if he continues to win at this pace, he will have 26 wins on the season, giving him 250 for his career. Glavine did lose to the Mets in Shea stadium April 16th for his first loss this season, but in that loss, he allowed only one earned run in six innings while striking out six.

A Closer Look

Tom Glavine must be on steroids. Correction- not even steroids will make someone pitch this well.

Glavine leads the league in ERA and innings pitched, but the remarkable part is the amount by which he leads the league in ERA. Glavine's 1.57 ERA is almost a full run better than Randy Johnson's 2.48 ERA. In 13 starts, Glavine has given up more than two earned runs only twice: once to the Dodgers and once to the Padres. Aside from his lost to the Padres, his only other loss came after a six inning outing allowing one earned run and one unearned run to the Mets. In his only other start against the Mets this season, he did not allow any earned runs in seven innings for a no-decision.

So what is the best way to face Glavine? Luckily, he has been much more hittable at home than away. His ERA at Turner field this season is 2.25 while it's 0.82 on the road. He has also faired worse in day games (2.29 ERA) than night games (1.12 ERA) which bodes well for the Mets. Lefties have also hit better against Glavine this season (.755 OPS against for lefties, .535 OPS against for righties).

Here are inning break downs for hitting against Glavine:


OPS Against









Obviously it becomes easier to hit Glavine as he tires, but the keys to beating Glavine may be Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn and Joe McEwing. Piazza is 22 for 64 against Glavine with 6 homers and 13 walks for a 1.126 OPS. McEwing is 8 for 20 with two homers, and Vaughn is 2 for 6 with two homers off Glavine as well. Aside from these three, the Mets lineup has historically done poorly against Tom Glavine.


3B Edgardo Alfonzo is 22-59 (.373) in his last 16 games with 6 doubles and 7 runs scored. After surrendering 7 runs in 4 2/3 innings Sunday, Al Leiter is now 0-3 with a 9.82 ERA in his last three starts.

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