Saturday, April 7, 2012
W2W4: Braves at Mets (April 7)
By Mark Simon, ESPN Stats & Information
Matchup to Watch vs R.A. Dickey
Dickey held Braves hitters to a .190 batting average in four starts last season, though he only won one of them.
There is no hitter he dominates more than second baseman Dan Uggla, who is 0-for-21 against him. It will be interesting to see if Uggla starts. He has the misfortune of facing Johan Santana and Dickey back-to-back. He’s 1-for-21 vs Santana.
Over the last two seasons, Uggla has 16 instances of making contact against Dickey, but has managed just one line drive and no balls that registered as “hard-hit” by those who do our video tracking.
Dickey’s next-worst 0-for is another second baseman named Dan -- Nationals second baseman Danny Espinosa.
Dickey wrote at length in his new book about his last appearance against the Braves, when he lost in September on a game-winning hit by Chipper Jones. Three of his four starts against the Braves last season were quality starts.
Dickey deserved a better fate at Citi Field in 2011. He finished 2-9 there despite a 3.51 ERA.
Matchup to Watch vs Jair Jurrjens
Mets third baseman David Wright is 0-for-his-last 14 against Jurrjens, who is 8-4 for his career against the Mets, but just 2-for-3 over the last two seasons.
First baseman Ike Davis is 0-for-7 in his career against Jurrjens and is coming off a rough debut to his 2012 season. Davis had a tough time with Braves starter Tommy Hanson and finished 0-for-4, with all four outs coming against pitches that were either right at the edge of, or below, the strike zone.
The Mets will also have to deal with game-time temperature that should be in the range of 55 degrees.
Jurrjens has been good in cool weather, though he doesn’t pitch in it that often. Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com, we know that n his last four starts in which the temperature was 60 degrees or lower (dating back to 2009), Jurrjens pitched scoreless ball in three, allowing just two runs in 27 innings.
Make way for the new guy
Kirk Nieuwenheus will become the seventh player in Mets history to make his major league debut as the team’s starting centerfielder, the first since Alex Escobar in 2002.
The good news is that the last four all had at least one hit in their debut Lenny Dykstra had two, including a home run in 1985).
Tejada in the leadoff spot
Ruben Tejada should hit leadoff on Saturday, something he did six times last season. The last three games in that stretch went well, with Tejada netting five hits and five RBI, including four in a win against the Braves.
The Mets pitching record for longest scoreless streak to start the season is 17 innings against the Phillies in 1998, which included a 14-inning win in their season opener. They need to go nine scoreless on Saturday to break that mark.