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National League Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, April 19th (All times Eastern)

Atlanta Braves (12-5) at New York Mets (8-9), 1:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Atlanta - David Hale (0-0, 2.89) New York - Zack Wheeler (1-2, 4.67)

(SportsNetwork.com) - Zack Wheeler tries to build upon his first win of the season on Sunday when the New York Mets attempt to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Wheeler lost his first two starts, but beat the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, as he held them to a pair of runs, six hits and walked three batters in 6 1/3 innings to improve to 1-2 to go along with a 4.67 ERA.

"I would have liked to have finished the seventh, but my pitch count started getting up there and I walked that guy, so it's understandable," Wheeler said. "I did have the three walks, which was kind of a disappointment. But I got faster outs and I kept my pitch count down for the most part. It did sneak up there. I would have liked to have gotten through the seventh."

Wheeler lost to the Braves two starts ago, but is 3-1 with a 3.80 ERA in four starts against them.

Atlanta, meanwhile, will counter with righty David Hale, who was skipped his last time through the rotation. Hale was supposed to start in Philadelphia on Tuesday, but the game was postponed due to rain and manager Fredi Gonzalez opted to keep the rest of his rotation on turn.

The 26-year-old Hale will make the fifth start of his major league career and third this season. He has gone without a decision in the first two while posting a 2.89 earned run average.

Hale struggled with his command the last time he pitched back on April 10, as the Mets tagged him for four runs -- three earned -- on five hits and five walks over 4 1/3 innings. Atlanta lost the game 6-4.

"Just one of those days," said Hale. "I didn't have command of the fastball at all. I had to battle the whole time. It's tough to do that the entire game."

Atlanta continued to roll on Saturday, as Justin Upton went 3-for-5 with a three run homer and two runs scored to help the Braves to a 7-5 win. Freddie Freeman finished 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for Atlanta, winners in seven of its last eight games.

Ervin Santana (2-0) allowed one run on six hits while fanning seven over seven innings. Over three starts this season (21 innings), the nine-year veteran has allowed just one run and struck out 24 batters.

Jordan Walden left the bases loaded in the ninth to record his first save.

David Wright and Chris Young each went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Travis d'Arnaud had two hits and an RBI for the Mets, who have dropped two straight after sweeping Arizona earlier this week.

Bartolo Colon (1-3) allowed three runs on eight hits and struck out six to saddle the loss.

Atlanta lost two of three versus the Mets at Turner Field from April 8-10, but has won six of the past nine meetings overall between the NL East foes.

04/20 10:28:54 ET

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