The Mets are second worst team in baseball. Guess who's number 1? The Marlins. That's right, the NL East has two of the biggest disasters in baseball in the same division. What are the odds? Given their owners and finances, I'd say pretty good. It's saying something when the Astros are outpacing your team in wins. I think they pay those guys in beer and fast food coupons. On to the matchups:
Game 1: Hudson (4-6) v. Gee (5-6)
Game 2: Wood (0-0) v. Harvey (5-1)
Game 3: Maholm (7-5) v. Wheeler (0-0)
Game 4: Medlen (3-7) v. Marcum (0-8)
Game 5: Minor (8-2) v. Niese (3-6)
You're reading that right. We have 5 games against the Mets in a row. What was supposed to be a 4 game set became 5 due to a rainout earlier in the year. Hudson needs to get a little offensive love in the first game, since he's been on the receiving end of a grand total of 2 runs in his last 2 starts, and he's only given up 4 runs in his last 3 games. He's pitching much better than anything we saw in May, which is a good thing. He faces Dillon Gee, who is about the only thing besides Matt Harvey that the Mets have going for their rotation. Gee has won 3 straight, giving up only 3 runs, and he won 4 of his last 5 starts. Guess who was the lone loss? The Braves! In fact, he gave up 5 runs to the Braves lineup in a 6-0 loss in NY the last time he faced us. The Braves have really capitalized on Gee in the past with Heyward, Justin, CJ, and Simmons all having OPS numbers over .970. However, Uggla, Mac, and Freeman all have batting averages against Gee under the Mendoza line. It's haves and have-nots in the matchup, and you hope the haves go deep.
Matt Harvey has fallen on hard times since his blistering start. He's lost 4 of his last 5 starts. He's getting no support from the Mets lineup, which has led to many of those losses. The last two games he's received 2 runs, similar to the drought problems of Tim Hudson. Harvey hasn't faced most of the lineup as a starter before, which usually means terrible things for our hitters. We'll see if things turn out any different in this go-around. Also, those of you expecting to see Beachy get a start? Well, he's been sidelined with elbow tenderness. The MRI showed no structural problems, just fluid buildup. That means he won't be making a start in the big-leagues anytime soon. If I'm the Braves front office, he won't be making any starts this year. I see absolutely no reason to rush him back, and this elbow issue proves he's not ready. In his place, the Braves will give Alex Wood his first start ever in the majors. This kid went from AA to the bullpen to starting a game in a matter of weeks. This has to be a whirlwind for him and his family. Hopefully he can settle down long enough to get some good innings. However, this is a completely mismatch waiting to happen. I wouldn't be shocked if the Braves put in the entire B-squad for this game.
Maholm couldn't have looked worse in his last outing against SD. The whole team couldn't for that matter. It was a problem that we can all just forget and gloss over, because that was a road game. Paul in home games has an ERA of 1.64 on the year. He's been filthy in Turner Field, and his win-loss record has been elevated because of that. The Mets are throwing Zack Wheeler at the Braves, a pitcher that has never tossed a single ball in major league play. My gut says, uh-oh. Again we're slated to see a guy who we have no film on and no idea what he throws. It's see ball, hit ball, and several of our hitters don't really do that well. The exceptions are Freeman, Mac, Gattis, and CJ. You have to hope they are all in the lineup.
Game 4 puts Medlen back on the hill coming off a blasting by the Giants that I witnessed first hand. He's better than that, so I'm not really going to hold it against him. That, and he has held the Mets lineup to a .198 batting average, so I'm predicting good things for him. He goes against Shaun Marcum, a guy that is about THIS close to getting sent down to AAA for his issues. He's lost every decision he's had, but here's the no-so-funny thing. The Mets have only won two of his starts, BOTH against the Braves this year. That has to stop. I have no idea why the Braves have given away games late against the Mets when Marcum pitched, but a lot of it has to do with the fact that our normally solid hitters can't seem to make contact off the guy. He's racked up 46 Ks in 126 ABs against the Braves. That's an absurd number, and if they don't make contact against Marcum, he'll end up beating us again.
The final game, and by this point we'll either be loving this series or absolutely hating it, is Minor against Niese. Minor can't seem to be beaten as he's led the Braves to 8 straight wins. Niese is going the other direction, having lost 8 of his last 10. Minor's WHIP is one of the best in baseball at 0.97, and Niese's is at 1.57 on the year. Minor has a home ERA of 2.98, and Niese has a road ERA of 6.45. If this game were played on paper, there's no way the Braves would lose. The Braves hold a .309 average against Niese lifetime, and they hope to continue the hot hitting against him in the last match.
The CPA (33-24) finally got off the shnide and predicted a Braves win the rubber game of the Giants series. Now it looks to game 1 of the Mets, and a tough matchup that may or may not be affected by some weather. If you're the Braves, you want to pitch fast, and you want to have a lead, because the rain may show up again around 9PM.
CPA Prediction Game 1: Braves 7 - Mets 2
The Mets have had major problems scoring runs of late, and even more problems hitting Tim Hudson on the road. The Braves have been scoring more in the last two games than they scored in the previous 3 combined. The Atlanta hitters are trending in the right direction on the week, especially Justin, Heyward, and CJ. Considering they are the ones who have been hottest against Gee, the CPA expects them to capitalize.