Mets @ Braves Doubleheader Preview

Their seven-game winning streak snapped in their own personal House of Horrors, the New York Mets try to regroup with a day-night doubleheader at Atlanta today. The Mets, who blew a 5-0 lead and lost 12-6 to the Braves Tuesday, send Steve Trachsel and Al Leiter to face the Braves. Atlanta counters with Jason Marquis and Kevin Millwood.

Notoriously poor at Turner Field, Tuesday's loss was the fourth straight there this season after the Mets had won the first two meetings in Atlanta. The doubleheader was caused by a rainout on June 4, a day off in the midst of a three-game Braves sweep there.

Trachsel, who starts Game 1 for the Mets, has been sensational lately, improving to 9-10 and lowering his ERA to 3.36 with a 4-1 win over Florida last Thursday. The slow-working righty is 1-1 but with a 5.56 ERA against Atlanta this season, losing 5-4 at Atlanta on June 3 and beating the Braves 7-4 on June 25. In 11 1/3 innings, Trachsel has been hit for seven runs on 10 hits, including three homers.

The Braves counter with Marquis, who at 8-8 has the lowest win total among the Atlanta starters. Marquis has struggled lately, losing his last three decisions and seeing his ERA rise from 3.86 to 4.80 in his last four starts. He has yet to pitch against the Mets in 2002, but he pitched five times against New York in 2001, going 1-1 and allowing nine runs in 21 innings.

In Game 2, Leiter (12-11, 3.54) hopes to break what has become a strange pattern. Since late June, the Mets' ace has alternated good and bad starts almost every time out, with seven starts of allowing two or fewer runs mixed with six starts giving up four or more runs. In his last outing, Leiter beat the Phillies 7-2 with seven solid innings despite walking five.

Leiter has started twice against the Braves in 2002 with two strong no-decisions, giving up three runs and nine hits in 12 innings with 16 strikeouts.

Millwood was expected to lead the next generation of Braves pitchers after winning 35 games in 1998 and 1999, but there were doubts when he struggled in 2000 and 2001. No more. Millwood has bounced back with a 16-6 record and a 3.06 ERA that ranks ninth in the NL. Since starting the year with a 2-5 mark, Millwood has gone 14-1 and lowered his ERA nearly two runs a game.

In three appearances against New York, Millwood is 1-0 and has given up seven runs in 13 2/3 innings.

-- The Mets hope to have Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar back in the lineup today. Vaughn took batting practice before Tuesday's game to test his injured right hand. Alomar sat out Tuesday to rest his back after playing four straight games on turf in Philadelphia.

-- Grant Roberts has rejoined the team after being activated from the disabled list. Roberts has been out since with shoulder tendonitis since July 12. He was one of the Mets' most effective relievers up to that point, with a 2-0 mark and a 2.09 ERA in 29 games.

Injuries


Braves
Dave Martinez - Season - as of 2/6
Javy Lopez - Day To Day (Shoulder)
Wes Helms - 15 Day DL - as of 8/11
B.J. Surhoff - Season - as of 4/28

Mets
Mo Vaughn - Day To Day (Hand)
Grant Roberts - 15 Day DL - as of 7/13
John Franco - Season - as of 3/20
Kane Davis - Season - as of 5/14
Tony Tarasco - Day To Day (Ankle)

Last Trade Between Philadelphia-Mets


November 25, 1996.... The New York Mets traded Paul Byrd to the Atlanta Braves for Greg McMichael The Last Trade Between Mets-Milwaukee Braves On July 21, 1965....The New York Mets traded Jesse Gonder to the Milwaukee Braves for Gary Kolb.

Mets On This Date Last Year


September 10 - Did Not Play, 71-73, 8.0GB Of Atlanta
September 11 - Did Not Play, 71-73, 8.0GB Of Atlanta

The Former Braves


Steve Reed (2001)
Tony Tarasco (1993-1994)

Previous Meetings In 2002


April
Fri. 5 @ Atlanta: Mets won 9-3
Sat. 6 @ Atlanta: Mets won 11-2
Sun. 7 @ Atlanta: Mets lost 5-2
Mon. 15 @ New York: Mets won 7-6
Tue. 16 @ New York: Mets won 3-1
Wed. 17 @ New York: Mets lost 2-1

July
Mon. 3 @ Atlanta: Mets lost 5-4
Wed. 5 @ Atlanta: Mets lost 6-4
Thu. 6 @ Atlanta: Mets lost 3-2
Mon. 24 @ New York: Mets lost 3-2
Tue. 25 @ New York: Mets won 7-4
Wed. 26 @ New York: Mets lost 6-2



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