Mets(courtesy of mlb.com)
New York, meanwhile, will need a long start from Jon Niese. Veteran John Maine left Friday night’s game early with pain in his non-pitching elbow, forcing the Mets to get 5 1/3 innings out of the relief staff. The Mets have seen their starters thrive over the last week, and they’ve allowed just three runs in the first four innings over their past nine games.
Third baseman David Wright finds himself with several noteworthy trends in motion. He tied Howard Johnson for eighth on the team’s all-time hit list on Friday, and he’s three away from reaching 1,000. Wright, who leads the Major Leagues in walks, will also become the Mets’ all-time doubles king (226) with his next two-bagger, wresting the title from Ed Kranepool.
And that’s not all: Wright, who has 23 career home runs against Atlanta, also has one other statistical trend to watch. The two-time All-Star has struck out in 10 consecutive games, setting the longest streak of that type in his career.
Braves(courtesy of mlb.com)
The Braves are in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 19 games in 20 days, 16 of them on the road. If they’re going to thrive all the way through that part of the schedule, they’ll need continued production from some of their supporting players. Martin Prado went into Friday night’s game leading the Majors in hits (25) and added another single in the loss.
Atlanta will also count on continued production from rookie sensation Jason Heyward, who has burst out of the gates in the season’s first few weeks. Heyward, just 20 years old, struck out three times on Friday night but leads all first-year players in home runs (four), RBIs (16) and hits (10). He has already established himself as the team’s No. 5 hitter.
Don’t let him eat cake. The Mets find themselves in the strange position of trying to deny the calendar on Saturday, when one of the top players for their main rivals celebrates a birthday. Atlanta’s Chipper Jones will turn 38 on Saturday, and he’ll be trying to extend a trend that has seen him hit .439 (18-for-41) and his team go 9-1 on the annual anniversary of his birth.
Jones, who is three home runs shy of tying Cal Ripken (431) for 38th place on the all-time list, has hit four home runs and driven in 10 runs on his birthday. Only three people — Al Simmons, Alex Rodriguez and Derrek Lee — have hit more home runs (five) on their milestone day. And if that’s not enough, Jones has 42 home runs and 133 RBIs in 234 games against the Mets.
With all that in mind, it’s no surprise that Jones still views the Mets as one of Atlanta’s chief rivals.
“It might feel different to some of the younger guys,” said Jones. “But with the history that I’ve had with the Mets and the Braves have had with the Mets in the late ’90s [and] early 2000s, they’re as close to a rivalry as anything that I know. It’s always tight games. It’s always pretty evenly matched teams. It’s just a matter of who executes better on any given night.”
And in recent memory, that has often been Atlanta. The Mets are just 28-29 at home against the Braves since 2004, and they have won this season series just once since 1998. Atlanta starter Jair Jurrjens has also thrived against New York, posting a 4-0 record and a 1.61 ERA in 2009 and a 6-1 record with a 2.44 mark for his career.
LETS GET TO .500!!