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The Mets Come to Town Again: A Preview

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Yes, it's that time again.† Tonight marks the beginning of the Braves third series against the Mets this year.† Going into tonight, the Braves are 4-2 against the Mets this season.† With Davies and James pitching this series, I think it could go either way.† It's just going to depend on whether those guys are having an on or off day, as neither have been consistent this season. Here's a preview of the pitching matchups for the series: Kyle Davies vs. Jorge Sosa:† Kyle Davies is 1-2 on the year with a 5.17 ERA.† Opponents are batting .358 against him currently.† However, here's the good news: his only start against the Mets was a great one.† Back on April 8th, Davies went 6 2/3rds innings against the Mets, allowing only 4 hits, 2 earned runs and 3 walks.† He racked up eight strikeouts and held the Mets to an OBA of .167. Former Brave Jorge Sosa hasn't exactly been consistent over his career, but he has been consistent this season.† In 2005, Sosa posted a 13-3 record with the Braves, finishing with a 2.55 ERA.† However, as we all know, he disappointed last year with a 3-10 record and an ERA of 5.46.† But apparently, this year he's back.† He's gone 3-0†with a 2.25 ERA†since being called on to replace El Duque.† What the Braves need to do to win:† Davies is going to have to be "on" tonight to try and supress the Mets offense as much as possible.† In addition, the Braves are going to have to play well offensively - no more stranding 12 on base! Chuck James vs. Oliver Perez:† Chuck James faced Oliver Perez last month at Shea Stadium in the Braves 7-2 loss to the Mets.† In that game, Chuck gave up 10 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks and struck out only 3.† Chuck is 4-3 on the year with a 4.15 ERA and opposing batters are hitting .345.† So far, he's been very hit or miss this season. At 5-3 for the season, with a 2.90 ERA, Perez doesn't always bring his A-game either.† However, the common denominator in both of the Mets wins over the Braves this season was Oliver Perez.† Remember that first game against the Mets at the Ted early in the season...the one where we lost 11-1?† That was Oliver Perez at his best.† He went seven innings and gave up only 5 hits, 1 earned run, no walks and racked up 6 strikeouts.† A couple of weeks later, he did nearly as well against the Braves at Shea, going 6 2/3rds and giving up 9 hits, 2 earned runs, while compiling†9 strikeouts.† He is officially the thorn in the Braves side. What the Braves need to do to win:† Chuckie needs to bring his A-game tonight and Braves hitters need to hit early and often.† John Smoltz vs. Tom Glavine:† Does it feel like deja vu?† It should - this is the third time Smoltz and Glavine have faced one another.† In their first meeting, April 7th, Smoltz got the win after going 6 innings and giving up 7 hits, 2 earned runs, 4 walks and compiling 4 strikeouts.† Glavine had similar numbers, going 5 1/3rd innings to post 4 hits, 2 earned runs, 3 walks and 2 strikeouts.† The difference in that game was three unearned runs the Braves scored.† The second Smoltz-Glavine matchup, on April 22, wasn't much different.† Smoltz went 5 2/3rds innings, giving up 9 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 walks and getting 3 strikeouts.† Glavine went 6 innings, giving up 7 hits, 3 earned runs, no walks and getting 5 strikeouts.† The story here was the Mets bullpen who lost the lead for Glavine, giving up two three-run homeruns to propel the Braves to a win. What the Braves need to do to win:†Both of these pithers are future hall-of-famers and always consistent and reliable.† Thus, anytime these two pitch against each other, the key to the game is offense.† The Braves need to hit Glavine early and get him out of the game ASAP.† Once the starters are out, I'll take our bullpen over theirs any day of the week and twice on Sundays.† If the Braves can get the lead and get Glavine out, Soriano or Wickman can slam the door shut and win this one. Should be a pretty good series, as I think the teams are fairly evenly matched at this point in the season.† Davies and James need to show up with their A-game and the offense needs to be producing in order for us to take at least 2 out of 3 this series. Coming up later today, an interview with Mets blogger Joe Janish from Mets Today†on the status of several Mets players, which Braves closer the Mets fear most, what it will take for the Mets to win this series and more... Also, jump on over to a post on†Mets Today†which features my answers to Joe's questions on the Braves!

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