Game Preview: New York Mets (10-13) at Atlanta Braves (11-13)



New York Mets (10-13) at Atlanta Braves (11-13)

Pitching matchup: John Maine (1-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. Javier Vazquez (2-2, 3.38 ERA)

Time: 7:05 p.m. EDT

Location: Turner Field, Atlanta

TV: Peachtree TV Radio: 640 WGST

Weather: Isolated T-Storms, 70 degrees

Twitter: Tomahawk Take

The first series between the, at one time, bitter division-rivals doesn’t quite have the sheen we’re accustomed to seeing.

Does that mean the short two-game series is lacking importance?

Of course not. This is, after all, critical games for two clubs that are in the process of battling it out for third place in the so-far mediocre National League East.

But, more importantly, both the Atlanta Braves (11-13) and the New York Mets (10-13) are trying to find any kind of rythmm — the Braves with their offense, the Mets with their pitching.

To make matters worse, Atlanta is just 2-4 on their current homestand and have compiled a dreadful 5-7 at Turner Field in the first month or so of the season. The Mets, on the other hand, can’t find a way to win on the road — evident in their 4-7 record.

With yesterday’s rain out of the Mets/Phillies series finale, the Braves received a gift in that they will not be facing ace  Johan Santana — something that should be somewhat of a motivator in the first game of the series tonight.

Taking the mound for the Braves will be Javier Vazquez (2-2, 3.38 ERA). The right-hander is coming off of his longest start of the season this past Wednesday against the Cardinals where he tossed eight innings, but was pinned for four runs in a disastrous fifth. He allowed six singles in the inning and picked up his first loss in his last three starts but did struck out eight batters.

Vazquez, who is fourth in the National League in strikeouts with 42, will be making his first start against the Metropolitans since the 2005 campaign.

On the hill for New York will be John Maine (1-2, 5.40 ERA), who has by far his best outing of the young season in his most recent start last Monday against the division-rival Florida Marlins. The 6′4,” 193 pound right-hander tossed six innings of one-run ball, surrendering just one hit while striking out four. In his two previous starts before that, Maine was pounded for six runs and five runs, respectively.

Maine has been quite dismal in his career against the Braves, posting a 2-3 career record with a 5.17 ERA. He is 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA at Turner Field.

Despite the not-so-overwhelming record versus Atlanta, Maine has enough in his arsenal to be effective against a team that is struggling to find consistency. He has great command and control of his pitches, but, at times, does come accustomed to giving up the home run ball.

Chipper Jones (5-for-9 with one home run) has had the most success off Maine of any of the Atlanta regulars.