Friday, May 24, 2013

Game 47 Preview: Atlanta Braves (28-18) at New York Mets (17-27)

Pitching Probables:
RHP Kris Medlen (ATL) 1-5, 3.02 ERA
RHP Jeremy Hefner (NYM) 0-5, 5.00 ERA

Tonight's Starting Lineups (7:10 pm ET, SportSouth):

Braves (career vs. Hefner):
Andrelton Simmons - SS (N/A)
Jason Heyward - RF (1-3, 2B)
Justin Upton - LF (N/A)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (2-4, HR, 4 RBI)
Brian McCann - C (2-4. 2B, 2 RBI)
Dan Uggla - 2B (2-3, BB)
Juan Francisco - 3B (N/A)
BJ Upton - CF (N/A)
Kris Medlen - P (1-3, 2B, RBI)

Mets (career vs. Medlen):
Daniel Murphy - 2B (2-14, 2B, RBI, 2 K)
Rick Ankiel - CF (1-2, 3B, RBI)
David Wright - 3B (2-16, 2 BB, 7 K)
Lucas Duda - LF (1-8, RBI, BB, 2 K)
Marlon Byrd - RF (0-1)
John Buck - C (0-2, BB)
Ike Davis - 1B (4-15, HR, RBI, 5 BB, 2 K)
Ruben Tejada - SS (3-13, 2B, K)
Jeremy Hefner - P (0-1, K)

Jeremy Hefner is 0-5 in nine appearances (eight starts) this season. His next attempt in notching his first win of the season does not figure to get any easier. Hefner gets the ball tonight in the first game of a three-game series at Citi Field against the red-hot Braves. The Mets are 0-8 in Hefner's starts this season, and 7-14 in his 21 career starts.
Perhaps Hefner's struggles are not the fault of why he has not won a game this season. Mets offense has scored only 13 runs in the 45 innings Hefner has worked this season.
Meanwhile, the Braves have won six in a row and seven of nine. Mets are 3-8 in its last eleven games and are 2-11 at home in its last thirteen. It;s the second meeting of the season between the two teams, as they split a rain shortened series in early-May.
Braves RHP Kris Medlen gets the nod for Atlanta tonight, looking for just his second win of the season despite posting a sharp ERA of 3.02. In his last start against the Dodgers, Medlen notched seven innings while giving up an unearned on two hits, walked three, and struck out five in the no decision. Braves beat the Dodgers 3-1 on back-to-back home runs from Evan Gattis and Andrelton Simmons.

Varvaro heading home to New York:
Braves reliever Anthony Varvaro will most likely make his third appearance at Citi Field this weekend, which not far from where the right-hander grew up. The Staten Island native, went to Curtis High School in Staten Island and attended St. Johns University in Queens, not far from Citi Field. In his career at Citi Field, Varvaro has surrendered a run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Mets offensive struggles:
Mets offense has sputtered as of late, only scoring three runs or fewer in 12 of their last 16 games.
Ike Davis has struggled the entire season and snapped a slump of 12 consecutive appearances without reaching base when he drew a walk in Wednesday's game against the Reds. Davis has just one hit in his last 38 at-bats.
If there is one Met not named David Wright who isn't struggling, it's Marlon Byrd. Byrd is hitting .307 (12-for-39) with three home runs this month.

Side note:
In two appearances (one start) against the Braves, Hefner is 0-1 with a 8.53 ERA. His only start against Atlanta, Hefner went 2 2/3 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits.
Freddie Freeman and Brian McCann are both 2-for-4 in their careers against Hefner with a combined homer and 6 RBI to go with a double.
Jeremy Hefner makes his first start after his hometown, Moore, Oklahoma, was devastated by a tornado earlier this week.
Kris Medlen has owned the Mets in his career, going 3-0 with a 1.58 ERA in five appearances (two starts).

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