Mets(courtesy of mlb.com)
Maine, meanwhile, will try to recapture his Flushing magic. Both Shea Stadium and Citi Field have been his fortresses the past two seasons, with a far better record at home (11-3) than away (6-11).
“I think that we saw John Maine better his last outing,” said skipper Jerry Manuel, referring to the right-hander’s five innings of three-run ball Sunday in St. Louis, which reduced his ERA from 13.50 to 10.38. “The number of foul balls, those types of things. We saw him a little better than we had seen before. So hopefully this next outing, we’ll see an even more improved John Maine.”
With a gritty Johan Santana on the mound Thursday, the Mets packaged just enough punch to decision Cubs left-hander Tom Gorzelanny, but that might not dissuade Manuel from the lineup shakeup he envisioned for his club’s next meeting with a right-hander.
Kawakami, you’re next.
“I’m going to have to make some adjustments in the lineups unless I see some difference in the at-bats,” Manuel said. “I don’t like the opposing manager to have a righty have some shots at three straight guys. I’ve got to find a way to break that up a little bit.”
Manuel referred to the David Wright-Jason Bay-Jeff Francoeur heart of his lineup. That trio is a combined 28-for-122 (.230) against right-handed pitching.
“I might have to bat [Bay] second,” Manuel added. “I’ve got to find a way to get him his pitch when he’s struggling.”
The Mets have reached hits in double figures only once in their 16 games, a 12-hit barrage against the Nationals on April 9. … Francoeur’s RBI single in the sixth snapped his 0-for-24 slump that began in Saturday’s 20-inning dance with the Cardinals.
Braves(courtesy of mlb.com)
Fresh off a home series in which they gathered 21 hits in three games against the Phillies, the Braves aim to keep Mets righty John Maine from snapping out of his early-season funk.
“We’ve got certain guys that are swinging the bat well, and certain sections of the lineup that are swinging the bat well, and others that are just struggling right now,” said the Braves’ Chipper Jones. “We’ve got to stand by them and help them through this period. They’re not going to hit under .200 for the whole season. You’ve just got to get some confidence in them.”
Meanwhile, the Mets, who are proving that they don’t need much firepower to win behind their stellar pitching, take aim at Kenshin Kawakami, the 34-year-old veteran from Japan.
Both clubs rank near the bottom of the National League in team hitting, but that hasn’t recently been an insurmountable problem.
Atlanta went 23 2/3 innings without scoring off an opposing starter between Jason Heyward’s bases-loaded walk against Colorado’s Greg Smith in the third inning Sunday and Matt Diaz’s run-scoring grounder against Jaime Moyer in the fifth inning Thursday.