Series preview: Mets at Braves

April, 15, 2012
4/15/12
6:23
PM ET

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Tommy Hanson, Randall Delgado and Jair Jurrjens during a three-game series at Turner Field.
METS (6-3, second place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (5-4, third place/NL East)

Monday: RHP Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.06) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.70), 7:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Johan Santana (0-1, 0.90) vs. RHP Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.60), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (2-0, 2.08) vs. RHP Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 7.71), 12:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones, who underwent March 26 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, made his season debut last Tuesday in Houston with a two-hit game that included a homer against Astros starter Kyle Weiland. Jones had a two-hit game the following day as well. He then was forced out of the lineup for two games with swelling in the surgically repaired knee. He had fluid drained and returned Sunday, when he again homered. The retiring Mets killer turns 40 on April 24. Jose Constanza was optioned to the minors to clear the roster spot for Jones.


Pat Sullivan
Chipper Jones' retirement tour includes parting gifts from opponents. In Houston, Jones received a cowboy hat, which was presented by Craig Biggio.


• Since an 0-4 start, Atlanta has won five straight games.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward is hitting .345 average with two homers and five RBIs, including a long ball Sunday against Milwaukee’s Chris Narveson. Heyward had worked since January with Jones and new hitting coach Greg Walker to rediscover his swing. He developed bad habits last season while dealing with a strained shoulder. His batting average dropped 50 points, to .227, in 2011. His on-base percentage dropped from .393 as a rookie to .319 last year.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn was hitting .188 with one RBI entering Sunday, when he had a three-hit game.

Tim Hudson, who underwent Nov. 28 back surgery, has started a rehab assignment. In his second minor league start Thursday, Hudson allowed five runs on nine hits in four innings with Class A Rome. Hudson is due to make two starts with Triple-A Gwinnett before being activated from the disabled list, beginning Wednesday.

• Right-hander Randall Delgado has tossed exactly five innings in each of his last six major league starts. His pitch counts in those games: 94, 93, 101, 92, 82, 89.

Matt Diaz broke a 311 at-bat homerless drought by going deep against Milwaukee left-hander Randy Wolf on Friday. Diaz had started in left field against southpaws.

Livan Hernandez’s relief appearance against the Mets during the opening weekend was historic. Hernandez’s only other relief appearance came in his major league debut, in 1996. He had made 474 consecutive starts. The only two other pitchers to have 400-plus starts between relief appearances, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Roger Clemens (681 starts from 1984-2007) and Steve Carlton (544 from 1971-1986).

Chad Durbin, released by the Washington Nationals at the end of spring training, has allowed homers in each of his three relief appearances with the Braves.

• Rookie shortstop Tyler Pastornicky’s average has slipped to .136. After struggling for the first two-plus weeks of spring training, the 22-year-old Tyler Pastornicky started producing and beat out fellow prospect Andrelton Simmons. Pastornicky hit a combined .314 with seven homers and 45 RBIs in 117 games between Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett last season. He arrived in the shortstop swap that sent Yunel Escobar to the Toronto Blue Jays for Alex Gonzalez in July 2010.

Matchups

Gee vs. Braves (career: 2-2, 3.46 ERA)
Jack Wilson 1.000, 1 PA
Jason Heyward .400, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 2 K, 16 PA
David Ross .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Michael Bourn .300, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 12 PA
Matt Diaz .250, 1 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Martin Prado .235, 18 PA
Dan Uggla .188, 2 RBI, 3 K, 17 PA
Brian McCann .182, 3 BB, 2 K, 14 PA
Freddie Freeman .091, 1 RBI, 1 K, 11 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 BB, 2 K, 8 PA

Santana vs. Braves (career: 3-6, 2.14 ERA)
Matt Diaz .500, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 35 PA
Michael Bourn .357, 1 K, 15 PA
Jack Wilson .333, 9 PA
Chipper Jones .259, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 29 PA
Brian McCann .258, 3 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 7 K, 32 PA
Martin Prado .182, 2 K, 23 PA
Jason Heyward .100, 1 BB, 3 K, 11 PA
Dan Uggla .048, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 12 K, 22 PA
David Ross .000, 2 BB, 4 K, 8 PA
Eric Hinske .000, 2 K, 5 PA
Freddie Freeman .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Tyler Pastornicky .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Dickey vs. Braves (career: 2-4, 3.90 ERA)
Chipper Jones .500, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 11 PA
Freddie Freeman .333, 2 BB, 2 K, 14 PA
Jason Heyward .308, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 18 PA
Michael Bourn .304, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K, 26 PA
Brian McCann .176, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 1 K, 22 PA
Eric Hinske .150, 3 BB, 2 K, 23 PA
Martin Prado .150, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 21 PA
Dan Uggla .000, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 26 PA
Jack Wilson .000, 3 K, 4 PA
David Ross .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Juan Francisco .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Tyler Pastornicky .000, 2 PA
Matt Diaz .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Hanson vs. Mets (career: 3-4, 3.48 ERA)
Justin Turner .667, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Daniel Murphy .625, 1 K, 8 PA
Josh Thole .444, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 19 PA
Ronny Cedeno .400, 1 K, 5 PA
Lucas Duda .375, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K, 8 PA
Jason Bay .273, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 13 PA
Ike Davis .167, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 14 PA
David Wright .150, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 22 PA
Ruben Tejada .000, 1 BB, 8 PA
Mike Baxter .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Delgado vs. Mets (career: never faced)

Jurrjens vs. Mets (career: 8-5, 3.10 ERA)
Kirk Nieuwenhuis .500, 1 K, 2 PA
Justin Turner .333, 1 K, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .333, 3 PA
Josh Thole .308, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 14 PA
Daniel Murphy .280, 2 RBI, 3 BB, 1 K, 28 PA
David Wright .250, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB, 7 K, 34 PA
Lucas Duda .250, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K, 5 PA
Jason Bay .222, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 21 PA
Ruben Tejada .167, 2 BB, 9 PA
Ike Davis .000, 2 BB, 5 K, 11 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Mike Nickeas .000, 1 BB, 2 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 3-0, at Citi Field, April 5-8 (AP game recaps)

Mets 1, Braves 0: Johan Santana pitched five innings of two-hit ball in his long-awaited return from shoulder surgery and David Wright hit an RBI single. New York's revamped bullpen picked up for Santana and shut down the Braves, who fielded an Opening Day lineup without Chipper Jones for the first time since 1996. Atlanta was punchless at the plate, managing only four hits. Santana struck out five and wriggled out of a fifth-inning jam in his first big league appearance since beating the Braves 4-2 on Sept. 2, 2010. He had surgery 12 days later. Tommy Hanson allowed one run on four hits in five innings with three walks for Atlanta. Andres Torres left the game with a left calf injury.

Mets 4, Braves 2: Lucas Duda homered twice and became the first player to take advantage of the pulled-in fences at Citi Field, leading R.A. Dickey and the Mets over Atlanta. David Wright kept hitting with a homer and two singles as the Mets improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2009. Josh Thole lined a go-ahead single with two outs in the fifth inning off well-traveled Livan Hernandez, making his first regular-season relief appearance since his major league debut in 1996. Martin Prado hit a two-run homer for Atlanta. Dickey (1-0) kept the Braves off-balance with his knuckler for six innings, allowing five hits and working around four walks.

Mets 7, Braves 5: Jon Niese took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his first start since signing a rich contract and the Mets completed a season-opening sweep. Niese (1-0) allowed just two balls out of the infield through six innings and retired 15 in a row before walking Dan Uggla on a 10-pitch at-bat leading off the seventh. On the next pitch, Niese's 99th of the game, Freddie Freeman singled cleanly to right. Pitching for the first time since the Mets gave him a $25.5 million, five-year deal, Niese allowed four runs (two earned) and two hits in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. Mike Minor (0-1) gave up six runs, six hits and four walks in five-plus innings.
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.299 9 52 70
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 23
RBIL. Duda 69
RD. Murphy 70
OPSL. Duda .841
WB. Colon 11
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.48
SOZ. Wheeler 148