National League Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 18th (All times Eastern)
Atlanta Braves (10-5) at New York Mets (8-7), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - Aaron Harang (2-1, 0.96) New York - Jon Niese (0-1, 3.46)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The only series loss the Atlanta Braves have this season was against the New York Mets just over a week ago.
The Braves aim for revenge and will try to start a new winning streak Friday in the opener of a three-game series at New York's Citi Field.
Atlanta lost two of three versus the Mets at Turner Field from April 8-10, but has won four of the past seven meetings between the NL East foes. Atlanta is currently in the midst of playing 18 straight games against division opponents.
The Braves were seeking a three-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park Thursday afternoon, but had their five-game winning streak stopped with a 1-0 loss. The Braves rallied to win the series opener and squeezed out a 1-0 triumph Wednesday. But in the finale, Phillies outfielder Ben Revere opened the scoring with an RBI single in the eighth inning.
Revere's hit, his third of the game, wasted a brilliant performance from Braves starter Alex Wood. Wood went the distance for a visiting pitcher, tossing eight innings and allowing the big run to go along with seven strikeouts and only one walk. Wood followed a gem by Julio Teheran, who hurled a three-hit shutout with four K's and no walks the previous game.
"He was terrific," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Wood. "You eliminate that eighth inning, both offensively and pitching wise, he did a terrific job. Here's a kid that hadn't handled the bat very much and he gets a chance to help himself and move the runner up and we don't do that."
Gonzalez hopes Aaron Harang can continue his early season success Friday against the Mets. Harang is 2-1 with a stingy 0.96 earned run average and has lasted at least six innings in each of his three starts, including Sunday's 10-2 pounding of Washington in which he permitted one run in six innings.
The veteran right-hander has walked six batters and struck out 17, and will make his 12th career start against the Mets. Over the first 11 appearances, Harang has a 4-5 record and a 5.20 ERA.
Atlanta will host the Miami Marlins next week to close out the NL East run.
New York has turned it around since a season-opening sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals. The Mets have won three in a row thanks to a recent sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and are 8-4 following the Washington set.
The Mets completed the sweep of the D'Backs with Wednesday's 5-2 win, as Anthony Recker homered and was one of three players to finish with two hits and an RBI. Daniel Murphy and David Wright were the others and starting pitcher Dillon Gee was credited with an RBI.
Gee picked up the win on the mound by hurling seven shutout innings and giving up three hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Jose Valverde ran into some trouble in the ninth and yielded a pair of runs, but the Mets were able to register their first sweep of the season.
"Everything kind of clicked today," Gee said. "Terry (Mets manager Collins) did what he had to do and I respect it. I definitely wanted to keep going."
New York went 6-3 on the road trip and will play its next 10 games at Citi Field versus Atlanta, St. Louis and Miami.
Jon Niese will make his third start for the Mets Friday and is 0-1 with a 3.46 earned run average in two outings. Niese lost his season debut versus Cincinnati and did not record a decision the last time out in a 7-6 win at the LA Angels of Anaheim on Saturday. He lasted 7 1/3 innings in that one and was reached for three runs and six hits.
Niese, a left-hander, has plenty of experience against the Braves and is 6-4 with a 3.62 ERA across 15 starts (87.0 innings).
Niese hopes to get some firepower in the lineup against Atlanta with the pending return of outfielder Chris Young. Young signed with the Mets in the offseason and didn't even get an at-bat on April 2 versus Washington because of a leg injury. Young signed a one-year deal worth $7.25 million and is eager to show his talents.
"I'm definitely not counting that first one," Young said of his brief debut earlier this month. "It's tough to sit there and watch ballgames and not be able to get out there and participate."
Young said the leg feels good and wanted to get comfortable running the bases. He got some work in with Triple-A Las Vegas.
Outfielder Curtis Granderson is also a first-year Met and is probable Friday with a balky wrist. Granderson is batting only .167 with a homer and four RBI.
04/18 10:27:23 ET