Braves Begin Final Road Trip with Three in New York
By Editorial Staff
After a 3-4 homestand, including most recently losing two of three to the Nationals, the Braves look to turn something around on the road in their last road trip of the season, starting with three in New York against the Mets.
After losing three of four to the Braves in the beginning of September, the Mets are 8-5 since, most recently sweeping the Pirates four straight. Their recent run has them at 74-73, but the Braves have had their number this season and are looking to keep it going in a big series.
Friday night’s matchup is Tommy Hanson and Jonathon Niese. Hanson is coming off a solid performance against the Cardinals in which he allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings, not walking any and striking out five. It was his most strikeouts in a game since August 1. Hanson has owned the Mets in four starts, allowing just two earned runs and three total in 24.2 innings. He pitched seven shutout innings on just one hit against them on September 1.
Niese is sporting a solid 3.91 xFIP in 161 innings this year, recording a 2.53 K/BB and 8.3 SwStr%. The lefty has a BB/9 of less than three. Niese’s contact percentage is actually a little worse than average, but he plays to it with a ton of fastballs and cutters. He gets grounders at a rate of 47.7%. He has a 3.57 ERA against the Braves in four starts but had a freakish outing against them earlier this season, allowing three earned runs and eight total in 4.2 innings. He will rack up his strikeouts against the Braves.
Saturday’s game is featured on FOX again, with Tim Hudson facing Dillon Gee. Hudson continues to watch as his ERA regresses to the norm, allowing six runs in five innings against the Cardinals last time out. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his past three starts. Hudson has a 3.46 ERA in 19 career starts against the Mets, though he allowed four runs in seven innings against them in their last series.
The Mets have a new winner taking the mound in his third career start. Gee had a 4.96 ERA in 161 minor league innings this season, recording a 4.02 K/BB. He showed tremendous command and the ability to punch out a lot of hitters in his second full season as a starter. Gee allowed one run on two hits in seven innings against the Nationals in his debut, followed by six shutout innings against the Pirates. However, he has seven walks and seven strikeouts in the two starts. Gee’s pitch arsenal is pretty balanced, throwing an equal amount of sliders and changeups, and also throwing a good number of curves. His slider and change have had success so far.
Sunday afternoon’s matchup is Derek Lowe and R.A. Dickey. Lowe had perhaps one of the best starts of his career last time out, pitching eight shutout innings with no walks and a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Nationals. Lowe has allowed one run in his last 14 innings with zero walks and 14 strikeouts. He gave up one run in six innings to the Mets earlier this season, but has a 6.05 ERA in 55 career innings against them.
Dickey has a 3.85 xFIP and 2.16 BB/9 in 154 innings this season. Hitters whiff at a rate of 8.6% and he gets grounders at almost 54%, while holding homers to a rate of 0.70 HR/9. Dickey’s knuckleball holds a value of 16.2 runs this season, while the fastball is at six runs. He pitched a complete game last time out against the Pirates, allowing one run. He gave up two runs in six innings to the Braves earlier this season and holds a career ERA of 5.74 in 15.2 innings.