Morning Briefing: Wheels up in Atlanta


FIRST PITCH: Season on the brink.

The Mets open a three-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves on Monday at Turner Field now trailing the division leaders by a season-high seven games.

Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) faces left-hander Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07) in the 7:10 p.m. series opener.

Wheeler is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five career starts against the Braves. He is coming off a career-low two-inning start against the Oakland Athletics. Wheeler had his first career shutout in his previous start, against the Miami Marlins.

David Wright is due for a morning exam on his bruised left rotator cuff at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. Terry Collins hopes the captain then will fly to Atlanta and be fit to enter the lineup, especially since the Mets face southpaws the first two games of the series -- Wood and Mike Minor.

“The guy hits .480 against left-handed pitching. I’d like to get him back in the lineup,” Collins said. “There’s a chance he won’t play. And I realize that. And that’s OK. We’ll get through it.”

The Braves are coming off their first four-game sweep in Philly in a half-century. Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

Monday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee allowed one run on four hits and a walk in 2 2/3 innings against the Staten Island Yankees on Sunday at Coney Island. He threw 55 pitches, which was the target. The Mets have estimated that Gee will make one additional rehab start before being activated from the disabled list. “I was definitely a little erratic at first,” Gee told reporters. “I’m not going to lie, I had a little adrenaline going in this game because it was my first time out in a couple of months in front of a crowd.” Gee’s first rehab appearance had come in the Gulf Coast League, which is played on back fields at the spring-training complex. Read more in the Post, Daily News and Newsday.

Bartolo Colon’s seven-start unbeaten streak ended in a 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Colon surrendered five runs in six innings, including an Ike Davis two-run single in a three-run first.

“Obviously when you put those kinds of swings on it, he was getting balls in the middle of the plate,” Collins said. “He hasn’t been hit that hard in a long time.”

The Mets went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base. They were held scoreless until the ninth inning.

They lost three of four against the Pirates.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Wright in the Post, Newsday and at MLB.com.

• Darrell Ceciliani scored three times and Jayce Boyd had three hits as Binghamton beat Altoona, 7-4. Michael Fulmer tossed seven scoreless innings as St. Lucie blanked Bradenton, 1-0. Matt Oberste went 4-for-4 with a grand slam and six RBIs and Champ Stuart went 4-for-4 with four runs scored as Savannah beat Rome, 15-12. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• X-rays of backup catcher Anthony Recker’s right hand were negative.

• Tim Rohan in the Times revisits the Mets trading Davis to the Pirates, which secured playing time for Lucas Duda.

From the bloggers … NY Mets Life discusses the importance of team chemistry and the Mets new towel-waving celebration.

BIRTHDAYS: Ron Swoboda turns 70. ... Chan Ho Park is 41. ... Tony Fernandez is 52.


YOU’RE UP: Do you believe David Wright will be in the lineup on Monday night?