Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
4:44
PM ET

Getty Images
The Mets face (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson this weekend.
METS (65-72, fourth place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (78-60, second place/NL East)

Friday: LHP Jon Niese (10-8, 3.55) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (11-9, 3.79), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (2-5, 4.52) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (7-1, 1.56), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Chris Young (4-7, 4.48) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (12-7, 4.45), 1:10 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

Chipper Jones makes his final appearance in Queens as a player this weekend. He famously named his son Shea (now 8 years old) after the Mets’ former homer because of his success there.

Jones hit his second walk-off homer of the season Sunday, when he slugged a three-run shot against Philadelphia. He now has nine career game-ending homers, breaking a tie with Hank Aaron for the franchise record. Aaron had two with the Milwaukee Braves and another six after the move to Atlanta. Jones’ two walk-off homers in a season match the major league record for a player who has turned 40. Andres Galarraga also performed the feat twice, in 2001 with the San Francisco Giants.

Jones has 2,714 career hits, one shy of matching Bill Buckner for 60th on the all-time list.

Kris Medlen is the reigning NL Pitcher of the Month. He went 4-0 with an 0.50 ERA (2 ER in 35 2/3 innings) while striking out 35 and walking four in August. Medlen is 6-0 with a 0.54 ERA in seven starts since moving from the bullpen to the rotation on July 31.


Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
Dan Uggla's .207 average is the lowest in the National League among qualifiers.


He produced a 34 2/3-inning scoreless streak that began with a start against the Mets on Aug. 11. It marked the longest scoreless streak by a Brave since Greg Maddux went 39 1/3 run-free innings in 2000.

Medlen is now 12-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 25 career major league starts. The Braves have won his last 18 starts, a franchise record. The record previously was held by John Smoltz (15 in 1996). The last major league team to win that many consecutive starts by a pitcher was the Yankees in 2000 with Roger Clemens on the mound (20 straight).

• After three games out of the starting lineup, slumping Dan Uggla has now made consecutive starts at second base. Uggla’s .207 average is last among National League qualifiers, a full 13 points worse than runner-up Drew Stubbs of Cincinnati. Uggla’s 150 strikeouts are six shy of matching the franchise record he set last season. Andruw Jones previously held the record, with 147 strikeouts in 2004. Martin Prado started the three games with Uggla on the bench. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez indicated he would pick spots for Uggla to start.

• Catcher Brian McCann went hitless in four at-bats Thursday and is hitting .155 (13-for-84) with no extra-base hits in 24 games since Aug. 1. McCann received a cortisone shot in his right shoulder after Saturday’s game and did not return to the lineup until Wednesday. McCann also received a cortisone shot Aug. 7. He has a frayed labrum and a cyst and may require offseason surgery. David Ross handled the catching duty with McCann unavailable.

• Rookie shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who has been sidelined since July 8 with a fractured right pinkie, will complete his rehab assignment with Class A Lynchburg and should be activated during the weekend series against the Mets. Ex-Red Paul Janish primarily has handled shortstop in Simmons’ absence. Jack Wilson, who fractured a finger against the Mets in July, was released last week before being activated.

Miguel Batista, who signed a minor league contract with Atlanta on July 27 after declining to go to Triple-A with the Mets, returns to Citi Field in a Braves uniform. He was called up on Aug. 25 and has allowed one run in five innings spanning four relief appearances.

Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran received September call-ups. Teheran received the promotion despite a 7-9 record and 5.08 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Gwinnett. Jair Jurrjens was bypassed for a call-up. He had a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances (10 starts) earlier in the season in the majors. Backup first baseman Lyle Overbay also was among the September call-ups. He had been signed Aug. 20 after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is one homer shy of becoming the fourth player in Atlanta history to reached double digits in homers, triples and steals in the same season. The others: Ralph Garr (1974), Marquis Grissom (1996) and Rafael Furcal (2003 and 2005).

• Atlanta acquired infielder Jeff Baker from the Detroit Tigers for a player to be named or cash last Friday, at the non-waiver trade deadline.

• Closer Craig Kimbrel notched his 34th save Thursday. He has struck out 94 in 51 1/3 innings.

• The Braves enter the weekend off consecutive 1-0 victories against the Colorado Rockies. Both Braves runs were unearned. The last time a team won consecutive games by that score using unearned runs came in July 1984, with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Cincinnati Reds, according to STATS LLC. Mike Minor took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning in the Wednesday victory. Atlanta went 3-for-35 with runners in scoring position during the four-game series against Colorado.

• Call-up Jose Constanza, who injured Daniel Murphy on a slide in 2010, won the International League batting title. Constanza hit .314.

Last series results

Atlanta won, 2-1, at Citi Field, Aug. 10-12 (AP game recaps)

Braves 4, Mets 0: Paul Maholm pitched a three-hitter in his second start for Atlanta and the Braves got two-run homers from Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla. Heyward connected in the first inning to help spoil Matt Harvey's home debut with the Mets. Uggla went deep in the eighth off reliever Josh Edgin for his first homer in more than a month. More

Braves 9, Mets 3: Freddie Freeman had five RBIs in the first two innings and the Braves battered Johan Santana in his return from the disabled list. Michael Bourn had three hits, Chipper Jones chased Santana with an RBI single in a seven-run second inning and Atlanta roughed up the two-time Cy Young Award winner in the worst start of his career. Kris Medlen (3-1) pitched effectively into the seventh inning, striking out seven while improving to 2-0 since joining the rotation. More

Mets 6, Braves 5: Jon Niese handed a five-run lead to the bullpen, then watched from the bench as it started to unravel. Frank Francisco walked a pair of batters with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth inning, then gave up a two-run double to Martin Prado that put the potential tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second. When Jason Heyward then swung and missed at strike three, the slider was in the dirt and rolled under catcher Rob Johnson. Johnson took his time, however, and his throw just beat Heyward for the final out. More
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

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
9 4.03 100 134
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .293
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 56
RD. Murphy 59
OPSL. Duda .856
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121