New York Mets: Jaye Chapman

Series preview: Mets vs. Braves

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
10:38
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The Braves send (l to r) Paul Maholm, Kris Medlen and Ben Sheets to the mound this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (54-58, third place/NL East) vs. ATLANTA BRAVES (64-47, second place/NL East)

Friday: RHP Matt Harvey (1-2, 3.86) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (9-7, 3.75), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Johan Santana (6-7, 3.98) vs. RHP Kris Medlen (2-1, 2.37), 7:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Jon Niese (8-6, 3.82) vs. RHP Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41), 8:05 p.m. ET

Braves short hops

• After a deal to acquire Ryan Dempster from the Cubs unraveled (he ultimately landed in Texas) the Braves instead obtained left-hander Paul Maholm from Chicago on July 30 with outfielder Reed Johnson and cash for right-handers Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman.

Before the trading deadline, the Braves also acquired infielder Paul Janish from Cincinnati. That acquisition, which came during the second-half-opening series against the Mets, resulted from rookie Andrelton Simmons suffering a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. Atlanta also lost Jack Wilson during that Mets series, with a dislocated middle joint in his right pinkie.

Maholm lost his Braves debut Saturday despite limiting Houston to three runs in seven innings. In his final seven games (six starts) with the Cubs, the 30-year-old southpaw went 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA. The Braves have a $6.5 million team option on Maholm for 2013. Janish is hitting .198, but has only one error in 24 starts at shortstop since the deal.


Dale Zanine/US Presswire
Despite a solid season, Chipper Jones reiterated he will retire after 2012.


Chipper Jones (.316, 10 HR, 48 RBIs) recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he still intends to retire after the season, despite his success. Jones, 40, will be honored at Turner Field during Atlanta’s final regular-season home series, which fittingly is against the Mets. Atlanta makes one more visit to Flushing this season -- Sept. 7-9. Jones ranks sixth on the all-time list among switch-hitters with 2,694 hits. He trails only Pete Rose (4,256), Eddie Murray (3,255), Frankie Frisch (2,880), Omar Vizquel (2,863) and Roberto Alomar (2,724).

• A strong Cy Young candidate, closer Craig Kimbrel has 31 saves (in 33 chances), trailing only Pittsburgh’s Joel Hanrahan (33 saves). The last closer to win the award was the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in 2003. Kimbrel, 24, has struck out 75 and allowed only 17 hits and 11 walks in 43 innings. If he finishes at this rate, his 15.70 strikeouts per nine innings would be the second-best of any closer in a single season while producing 30-plus saves. The only better: Carlos Marmol had a 15.99 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate while amassing 38 saves with the Cubs in 2010.

• Atlanta’s bullpen tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday at Philly in relief of Tim Hudson. The relief corps has allowed 18 earned runs and struck out 110 in 102 innings over 32 games since July 3. That’s a 1.59 ERA during that span. The Braves are 64-1 when holding a lead in the seventh inning or beyond, the best winning percentage in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Ben Sheets is 4-1 with a 1.41 ERA since joining the Braves following a two-year absence from the majors while recovering from Tommy John surgery.

• Right fielder Jason Heyward turned 23 Thursday. He is one of six major leaguers to have produced at least 15 homers and 15 steals this season, joining Ryan Braun, Ian Desmond, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rios and Mike Trout.

• The Braves have won 12 of their past 15, and 23 of 32 since July 3.

Brian McCann and David Ross have combined for 24 homers, the most in the NL from the catching position. McCann has nine homers and 22 RBIs in his past 23 games.

• Center fielder Michael Bourn is eligible for free agency after the season.

• Left-handed reliever Jonny Venters, who led the majors in relief appearances last season with 85, returned from the DL on July 21 after missing two weeks with an elbow impingement. He recently had elbow soreness surface and was given a week off, but returned to action Sunday. Lefty batters are hitting .281 against Venters this season, after hitting only .127 in 2011.

• Right-handers Tommy Hanson (lower-back strain) and Jair Jurrjens (groin strain) are on the DL. Jurrjens (6.89 ERA) had been reassigned to the bullpen before the injury.

Last series results

Altanta won, 3-0, at Turner Field, July 13-15 (AP game recaps)

Braves 7, Mets 5: It was a big day for Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, who celebrated the birth of his first child. It was also a big day for his backup, David Ross, who helped power the Braves' offense in McCann's absence. Ross homered and drove in four runs, Chipper Jones also connected and the Braves survived a crisis at shortstop to beat the Mets. The Braves had chosen to wait to replace rookie Andrelton Simmons, who broke his right little finger and will be out at least a month. Atlanta then lost shortstop Jack Wilson with another pinkie injury in the game. The Mets-killer Jones hit the 49th homer of his career against the Amazin’s, in the sixth off Josh Edgin, who was making his major league debut. More

Braves 8, Mets 7: Jason Heyward singled to cap a three-run eighth-inning rally and the Braves took advantage after the umpires reversed a call. The Braves' comeback prevented a shaky R.A. Dickey from getting his 11th win in a row. Bobby Parnell (2-2) gave up RBI singles with two outs in the eighth to Michael Bourn, Marin Prado and Heyward. Terry Collins was ejected while disputing a call in Atlanta's two-run fifth. With the score 3-all and Prado on first base with one out, Heyward hit a sinking liner that left fielder Jordany Valdespin charged. Dale Scott initially ruled Valdespin made a diving catch and Prado, who had reached second, was trapped while retreating for an apparent inning-ending double play. After the umpires conferred, they ruled Heyward's ball bounced. The umpires placed Prado on second. More

Braves 6, Mets 1: Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer in a six-run fifth inning and Ben Sheets (1-0) allowed two hits and one walk with five strikeouts in six scoreless innings in his first start since July 19, 2010. Johan Santana (6-6) gave up eight hits, six runs, two walks and struck out three in five innings. Dan Warthen was ejected during a mound visit. When plate umpire C.B. Bucknor reached the mound, Warthen began arguing with him over the strike zone afforded Santana. More

Around the minors 5.7.12

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
12:02
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BUFFALO 4, GWINNETT 3: Rob Johnson's two-run single with two outs in the top of the eighth gave the Bisons the victory. The win was Buffalo's 12th comeback triumph already this season, accounting for two-thirds of the club's 18 wins overall. In the latest edition, the Bisons trailed 3-1 thanks to solid work from 2011 International League's Most Valuable Pitcher Julio Teheran. Buffalo was 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and in danger of wasting Dustin Martin's one-out single in the eighth inning. Josh Satin drew a two-out walk and Matt Tuiasosopo battled back from down 0-2 in the count to earn another free pass from Gwinnett reliever Jaye Chapman. Fred Lewis had an easier time drawing his walk, watching four pitches sail outside the zone to force in a run. Down 3-2, Johnson gave the Bisons their only lead with a single through the left side of the infield. Buffalo's only hit with runners in scoring position gave the Herd a 4-3 advantage. Fernando Cabrera nailed down Elvin Ramirez's first Triple-A win with his seventh save. Ramirez came on with the bases loaded in the seventh inning and struck out Josh Wilson. Chris Schwinden started for Buffalo in his first game since a two-start stint with the Mets. He struck out eight batters but left after five innings with a 2-1 deficit. Buffalo scored their first run of the game in the third inning on Martin's sacrifice fly. Box

NEW BRITAIN at BINGHAMTON (ppd.): The contest will be made up as part of a doubleheader at NYSEG Stadium on Aug. 7 at 5:35 p.m. The B-Mets (14-15) will start their rain-shortened series against the Rock Cats on Tuesday. Left-hander Mark Cohoon takes the mound for Binghamton against left-hander Andrew Albers.

ST. LUCIE 5, DUNEDIN 4: Francisco Pena delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly as the Mets rallied with a two-run eighth inning. St. Lucie (25-6) trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the eighth. Wilmer Flores then hit a leadoff solo homer. Richard Lucas followed with a double down the left-field line and reached third on a sacrifice bunt by Cesar Puello. Pena then lined a pitch into left. Lucas tagged up from third and was able to beat the throw at home to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. The Blue Jays put together a comeback bid in the ninth as Ryan Schimpf doubled with one out to put runners at second and third against Adam Kolarek. Adrian Rosario issued an intentional walk to the next batter to load the bases. Rosario was able to induce a shallow flyball out for the second out. Rosario then induced a grounder to retire Michael Crouse to close the game as Danny Muno flipped to Robbie Shields at second for the force. Rosario earned his eighth save. Taylor Whitenton (2-1) picked up the victory in relief. He tossed 2 1/3 innings and allowed one hit and had one strikeout. Yohan Almonte received a no-decision. He allowed four runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts. Almonte allowed four consecutive hits in the first inning as the Blue Jays jumped to a 3-0 lead. But he was able to settle down and retired 13 straight. The Mets responded with a three-run first to even the score. Richard Lucas reached on an error that allowed Shields and Flores to score. Puello delivered an RBI single to plate Lucas with the third run. Flores went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Erik Goeddel opens a series at Brevard County on the mound Tuesday. Box

SAVANNAH 5, LAKEWOOD 0: Savannah pitching faced one batter over the minimum, retiring 27 of 28 Lakewood batters. The Gnats (19-12) have won five of the first six games on their seven-game homestand. Jacob deGrom made his Savannah debut and was perfect into the fifth inning. With two outs in that frame, he gave up a double to Maikel Franco, who was the only runner of the night for Lakewood (10-19). DeGrom, the Mets’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 draft out of Stetson, retired 20 of 21 before departing with his pitch count approaching 80. The Gnats scored the game’s first runs in the seventh. With one out, BlueClaws starter Ethan Stewart walked three batters to load the bases. Lakewood then called on reliever Gabriel Arias. Albert Cordero swung at the first pitch from Arias, sending a sharp groundball inside the first-base bag and down the line for a two-run double. Luis Nieves followed with a bloop single, plating two more runs for a 4-0 lead. Nieves finished 3-for-3 with three singles. Reliever Carlos Vazquez, who entered for deGrom for the final out in the top of the seventh, retired all seven batters he faced to earn his third win. He struck out two. In the eighth, Brian Harrison doubled, driving in Travis Taijeron to cap the scoring. Box

Compiled from team reports

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .295
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .832
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180