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Series Preview: Mets Go to Altanta to Battle Braves

Starting tonight at 7:10, the Mets begin a three-game series with the red-hot Braves.

The Mets are coming off a series win in Philadelphia, in which they took two out of three. In the first game, R.A. Dickey outdueled Cliff Lee, allowing just one run over seven innings of work. Jason Bay hit his first home run of the year, a two-run blast, which sealed the deal for the Mets in a 5-2 victory. The bullpen went the rest of the way, shutting down the Phillies. Jon Niese dominated the second game, throwing 6.2 shutout innings. Niese followed up a no-hit bid with an even more impressive outing. The big story of the game, however, was the impressive comeback of David Wright. Wright had missed three games due to a broken pinkie finger and a DL stint seemed imminent. Instead, Wright played through the pain and went 3-5 with a home run. The Mets won 5-0. On Sunday, the Mets went for the sweep and were unsuccessful. Mike Pelfrey managed to give up just one run, but the bullpen blew the game. They allowed two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth, losing 8-2.

The Braves have been on a roll. Since losing their first four games, including three to the Mets, Atlanta has won five straight. They are coming off a series sweep of the Brewers. Jair Jurrjens was the only starter to not pitch extremely well, giving up five runs in his outing. Otherwise, the Braves are on a roll and will look to continue their hotstreak at home against the Mets.

Here are the pitching matchups:

Game 1- Tonight 7:10

Dillon Gee (0-1, 5.06 ERA)- Gee was solid in his first outing of the year against the Nationals, throwing 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. He also struck out six. Gee is 2-2 with a 3.46 ERA in seven starts against the Braves in his career.

Tommy Hanson (1-1, 2.70 ERA)- Hanson allowed the only run of the game in a pitching duel against Johan Santana and the Mets on Opening Day, earning the loss. He walked three in the outing. In his last start against the Brewers, Hanson allowed two runs in five innings while striking out eight.

Game 2- Tuesday 7:10

Johan Santana (0-1, 0.90 ERA)- Johan upped his pitch count in his last start, a major sign of progress and health. Johan threw 99 pitches (56 strikes) against Washington in his last start. He allowed one run on five hits over five innings, but earned the loss due to the struggling Mets offense. His third start of the season will likely be a full one for Santana- one in which he can finally let it rip.

Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.60)- The 46th ranked prospect in baseball according to Baseball America is getting a shot in the rotation. In his first start this season, Delgado allowed two runs over five innings in a win over the Astros.

Game 3- Wednesday 12:10

R.A. Dickey (2-0, 2.08 ERA)- Dickey has been sensational this season, earning wins in each of his first two starts. Dickey opened up the season with a six inning performance against the Braves on April 7, allowing just two runs. In his last start, he allowed only one run over seven innings. Dickey’s knuckleball clicked for the first time this year in his last start. The warm weather should help Dickey tremendously.

Thoughts:

Despite the bad loss yesterday, the Mets have a real shot to win this series. They proved themselves worthy on Friday and Saturday with two very impressive wins. They have pitched well this year, and despite the offense only being spotty, the Mets have managed to go 6-3 against some stiff competition. If the bullpen doesn’t repeat the seven-run performance from Sunday, they will be fine. Part of yesterday’s struggle was mismanagement by Terry Collins, using a longman in a setup man’s role. Terry won’t make the same mistake again.

Let’s go Mets!