Thursday, July 25, 2013

Game 102 Preview: Atlanta Braves (57-44) at New York Mets (44-53)

Pitching Probables:
LHP Alex Wood (ATL) 0-2, 2.45 ERA
RHP Zack Wheeler (NYM) 3-1, 3.58 ERA

Today's Starting Lineups (12:10 pm ET, SportSouth):

Braves (career vs. Wheeler)
Andrelton Simmons - SS (1-1, 2 BB)
Reed Johnson - CF (N/A)
Justin Upton - RF (0-3, K)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (0-1, 2 BB)
Evan Gattis - LF (N/A)
Dan Uggla - 2B (1-3, 2B, K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (1-3, K)
Gerald Laird - C (N/A)
Alex Wood - P (N/A)

Mets (career vs. Wood):
Eric Young Jr. - LF (N/A)
Daniel Murphy - 2B (1-2)
David Wright - 3B (0-1, BB)
Marlon Byrd - RF (1-1, RBI, BB)
Josh Satin - 1B (N/A)
Justin Turner - SS (N/A)
John Buck - C (0-1, K)
Juan Lagares - CF (0-1, K)
Zack Wheeler - P (N/A)

Earlier this season, Alex Wood has proved he can be efficient as a reliever. Today, Wood makes his second Major League start with a chance to earn and keep a spot in the Braves starting rotation.
Wood, a 1st round pick, left-handed rookie, has allowed just six earned runs and has a WHIP of 1.09 in 22 innings this season, primarily as a reliever. His lone Major League start came against the Mets in game 1 of a doubleheader on June 18. Wood allowed one run, walked three, and struck out five in three innings.
Braves sent Alex Wood down to Triple-A Gwinnett last Thursday to stretch his arm out to start. He surrendered a run in five innings in his one start. Paul Maholm's spot in the rotation opened up after he was put on the 15-day disabled list for a left wrist contusion, giving Wood at least two starts with Maholm sidelined.
Zack Wheeler takes the mound in today's series finale for the Mets. In his two starts at Citi Field, Wheeler is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA. In his last start against the Phillies, Wheeler allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings and was hampered by a blister during the day which worsened in the later innings.
Mets manager Terry Collins originally mulled the idea of bumping Wheeler's start to one of the doubleheader games on Friday against the Nationals, but is good enough to make today's start in regular rest.
Wheeler made his Major League debut against the Braves back on June 18 and tossed six scoreless innings while allowing four hits and struck out seven, but walked five batters.

Brandon Beachy could rejoin rotation next week:
It has been a long road back to the Majors for Brandon Beachy. The starter underwent Tommy John surgery last year and had inflammation in his surgically repaired right elbow during his rehab starts this season. Including last night's start in Triple-A Gwinnett, Beachy has made eight rehab starts and his likely to move into the rotation with Tim Hudson's injury. Beachy was 5-5 with a 2.00 ERA in 13 starts last season before injuring his elbow.

Tim Hudson fractures ankle, out for season:
Tim Hudson was absolutely dealing in by far his best start of the season, but it was short-lived as he sustained a gruesome right ankle injury in the eighth inning of last night's game against the Mets when Eric Young Jr. spiked his ankle as he was trying to step on the first base bag, fracturing Hudson's ankle. The right-hander will have surgery in Atlanta once the swelling goes down and will miss the rest of the season.

Ike Davis trying to get going at the plate:
It's been a tough season to say the least for Mets 1B/OF Ike Davis. From a stint in Triple-A to his .175 batting average. He tried something different in Tuesday's game against the Braves and laid down a bunt. Though it did not work, it's something he may try again just to get his bat going.
Davis did not bunt in last night's game and went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and a walk. Since being called back up from the Minors, Davis is 10-for-42 (.238).

Side note:
Despite last night's 8-2 loss to the Braves, Mets are 19-13 since June 18, and 11-8 in July.
Braves scored eight runs in last night's win and was the first time they scored more than seven runs in a game since July 6 when they put up 13 runs against the Phillies.

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