National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, June 17th
(All times eastern)
New York Mets (25-39) at Atlanta Braves (41-28), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Dillon Gee (5-6, 4.84)
Atlanta - Tim Hudson (4-6, 4.41)
(Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves will try to pad their lead in the
National League East, as they entertain the New York Mets on Monday for the
first of five straight games between the division rivals at Turner Field.
The Braves' 6 1/2-game cushion is the widest margin for any division leader in
baseball, and they sit 13 1/2 games ahead of the Mets. The Braves have been
awfully tough to beat at home, where they boast a major league-best 23-8
record and 2.32 ERA.
The most recent of those home victories came Sunday over San Francisco in a
3-0 final. Freddie Freeman had three hits and an RBI in support of starter
Julio Teheran, who pitched six shutout innings and fanned eight.
Meanwhile, the Mets are coming off a thrilling 4-3 walkoff win over the Cubs
on Sunday. Trailing 3-0 entering the bottom of the ninth, Marlon Byrd led off
the frame with a solo homer and Kirk Nieuwenhuis later came through with a
three-run blast off Carlos Marmol to end it. It was a much needed victory for
the Mets, who had lost 10 of 12 before Sunday's dramatic finish.
"You don't forget about this," Byrd said. "You build off of it, remember how
much fun it is coming in the clubhouse, the celebration. You try to build off
it and keep winning games."
Toeing the rubber for New York in Monday's series opener is Dillon Gee, who is
trying to keep his spot in the rotation as the organization's top prospect,
Zack Wheeler, gets set to make his big league debut on Tuesday.
After struggling for much of the season, Gee has posted a 1.29 ERA with 26
strikeouts over a personal three-game winning streak. The right-hander allowed
just one run over 6 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 5-1 win over St. Louis.
"He had a little tendinitis and pitched great," manager Terry Collins said.
"Ultimately, it didn't get any worse than it was, but I thought he pitched
very, very well. I think he's back."
Meanwhile, Braves starter Tim Hudson is winless in three June starts despite a
1.66 ERA in that span. He went 7 1/3 innings against San Diego on Tuesday and
gave up three runs on five hits as Atlanta fell, 3-2.
"I feel like the last two or three times out, I'm right where I want to be,"
Hudson said. "I just don't have a whole lot to show for it from a wins
standpoint. But if I just keep throwing the way I have been the last three or
four starts, it's going to be a good year."
Atlanta has dominated the head-to-head series with the Mets, winning 15 of the
last 19 meetings while belting 24 home runs in that span.
06/17 10:32:04 ET