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mini-series-preview-mets-braves | May | 2010 Articles

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Mini Series Preview - Mets @ Braves

Written by Joe Lucia on .

Its not a series...so its gotta be a miniseries. The New York Mets come to town for a 2 game set that could knock them even further in the cellar. The Mets are in just a really bad spot right now, as their offense has absolutely slammed into a brick wall. The highest batting average by any regular is David Wright's .278. Wright is their best hitter with a .934 OPS, but he's also striking out at a 38% clip...yeah, just what you're looking for out of your best hitter. Shockingly, catcher Rod Barajas (really? Rod Barajas?!) leads the team with 9 homers and is hitting the ball pretty well. Since his callup, Ike Davis has been solid at first for the team, though he's cooled after a hot start. Big stars Jason Bay and Jose Reyes however, can't hit the ball worth a lick, and Luis Castillo and old friend Jeff Francoeur are setting Mets baseball back a few years with their play. Yeah...not really concerned about this sorry excuse for an offense. When this is coming from a Braves fan, you know you're not doing well. In this series, the Braves get Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana starting for the Mets. Pelfrey has been the Mets best starter, which is sad in and of itself, considering his WHIP is 1.35. However, he's limiting the homers which keeps his FIP low meaning that its not all totally smoke and mirrors. Ace Johan Santana on the other hand...his FIP is very close to Pelfrey's in the mid-3 range, but his ERA is near 4...shocking for one of the best pitchers in the league. That FIP is skewed very high due to 4 homers allowed 3 starts ago to the Phillies. Take them out, and he's looking like the Santana of old...people tend to overgeneralize stats without taking a bad start into account here and there, and it makes the pitcher look a lot worse than they really are. The Mets bullpen gets a lot of work, as 3 guys who have been there all season have 20 or more innings pitched, with 3 others over 15. Hisanori Takahashi will likely not get any work this series, as he's rumored to be starting in the weekend series for the Mets. On the bright side, Oliver Perez WILL be in the bullpen, and we all know how fun it is to beat up on him. The Mets bullpen though, is solid enough...Pedro Feliciano, K-Rod, rookie stud Jenrry Mejia, and Raul Valdes all have ERAs under 3.00, with Takahashi a tad bit above. The games in this series will likely be pretty low scoring. The Braves offense is getting on a roll since the insertion of Eric Hinske into the starting lineup in left field. He's been an absolute demon, and I'm willing to turn a blind eye to the high BABIP just because of the fact that the Braves really need to get the offense going, and Hinske has been a sparkplug in the middle of the order. Troy Glaus has also been a sparkplug, driving in runs like no one's business and finally getting the adoration of Braves fans who were preparing a march down Capitol Avenue to get his head on a stake. And how can I forget to mention reigning NL Player of the Week Martin Prado? Prado was shifted to the leadoff spot in the order this week, and has been a fantastic table setter for the Braves. Derek Lowe and Kris Medlen start for the Braves in this series. Lowe pitched effectively his last time out against the Brewers, but his stamina is absolutely shot, and you should only expect 6 innings max from him. Medlen will be the same way, as his arm isn't fully stretched out for the starter's role he now possesses due to the injury to Jair Jurrjens. In short, expect a lot of effort from the Braves bullpen in these 2 games. But as good as I mentioned the Mets bullpen was, the Braves is even better: only 2 current members of the pen have ERAs higher than 2.57. One of those pitchers is a rookie (Craig Kimbrel, who has thrown 2 1/3 innings), and one is horrible and will only likely get work in mop up situations (Jesse Chavez). Also unlike New York's pen, the Braves are well rested: Eric O'Flaherty and Jesse Chavez top the IP chart with 15 1/3 innings, excluding Medlen who is now in the rotation as I mentioned. I'm predicting a series split here, with each team taking a game. The series could really go either way. The Mets have the advantage with starting pitching, while the Braves have the advantage offensively and in the bullpen. If Lowe and Medlen can hold the Mets to 3 runs or less, I think the Braves offense will be able to push enough runs across the board against the Mets pitching staff to get a win or two. I will never count out Johan Santana, and Pelfrey has a knack for stranding runners and making the right pitch when he needs it the most. Lets hope the Braves are able to further bury their division rivals in the NL East standings.

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