- In what he hopes is the beginning of a characteristically strong second half, Santana provided seven scoreless innings in his most recent start, laying the foundation for the Mets’ sixth shutout by allowing a walk, three singles and two doubles. He struck out five. Santana has been the starter in three of the Mets’ six shutouts, pitching seven innings each time, and in six of their 10 most recent shutouts. He pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the Braves at Citi Field on May 11 in a game the Mets won, 8-3. He lost his only two decisions against them last season despite a 2.57 ERA in three starts (21 innings). Matt Diaz (10-for-18), Brian McCann (5-for-16), Yunel Escobar (5-for-12) and Chipper Jones (5-for-11) are batting .438 in 57 composite at-bats against Santana.
- New Yorkâ€™s inability to produce runs was the main factor behind the team losing 11 of 14 from June 26-July 10 to fall 6 1/2 games behind Philadelphia in the NL East. The Mets totaled 13 runs in a pair of wins to head into the All-Star break, but have come out just as ineffective as they were previously. New York mustered six hits in a 5-3 loss to the Braves (45-45) on Thursday, then were held to two hits in an 11-0 rout Friday at Turner Field.
- Santana certainly can attest to the Metsâ€™ inability to score. In his seven losses, theyâ€™ve scored a total of 12 runs, including just four during his four-game road losing streak that dates to June 2. Santana has never beaten Atlanta in six career starts, going 0-4 despite his 2.31 ERA. He gave up two runs – both unearned – and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings May 11 at Citi Field in an 8-3 loss. Chipper Jones is 5 for 11 (.455) lifetime against Santana, while Matt Diaz is 10 for 18 (.556) with a homer.
- Kawakami has proven to be a strong member of the Braves’ rotation in the season’s first half, and concluded that strong half with a win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 8. In his second outing since being struck in the neck by a line drive on June 24, Kawakami held the Cubs to a run on four hits in six innings. The Mets beat the Japanese import on May 5.
- The one who has feasted the most upon New Yorkâ€™s pitching, however, has been Yunel Escobar. The shortstop went 3 for 4 with three RBIs on Friday, upping his average against the Mets to .519 (14 for 27) with a homer and seven RBIs in seven games.
- Kenshin Kawakami (5-6, 4.26) will try to become the latest starter to take advantage of New Yorkâ€™s weakened lineup, and heâ€™ll be coming off one of his more effective outings. Kawakami limited the Chicago Cubs to a run and four hits over six innings in a 4-1 win at Wrigley Field on July 8. The Japanese veteran struggled in his first month in the majors, posting a 7.06 ERA in April, but heâ€™s 4-3 with a 3.36 ERA in his last 12 starts.