Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Game 125 Preview: Atlanta Braves (76-48) at New York Mets (57-66)

Pitching Probables:
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RHP Brandon Beachy (ATL) 2-0, 4.50 ERA
RHP Zack Wheeler (NYM) 5-2, 3.43 ERA

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

Braves (career vs. Wheeler):
Jason Heyward - RF (0-3, K)
Andrelton Simmons - SS (1-4, 2 BB)
Freddie Freeman - 1B (2-3, HR, RBI, 3 BB)
Evan Gattis - LF (0-3, K)
Brian McCann - C (0-2, BB, K)
Chris Johnson - 3B (1-5, BB, K)
Jordan Schafer - CF (N/A)
Paul Janish - 2B (N/A)
Brandon Beachy - P (N/A)

Mets (career vs. Beachy):
Eric Young Jr. - LF (.250/.327/.326 1 HR 15 RBI)
Daniel Murphy - 2B (.275/.307/.397 10 HR 57 RBI)
Marlon Byrd - RF (.288/.336/.523 20 HR 68 RBI)
Ike Davis - 1B (.202/.324/.318 7 HR 27 RBI)
Wilmer Flores - 3B (.282/.310/.436 1 HR 11 RBI)
Juan Lagares - CF (.258/.287/.396 4 HR 25 RBI)
Travis d'Arnaud - C (.000/.417/.000 0 HR 0 RBI)
Omar Quintanilla - SS (.229/.313/.298 2 HR 18 RBI)
Zack Wheeler - P (.182/.182/.227 0 HR 1 RBI)

The Atlanta Braves have soared to a 16-game lead in the NL East, due in part by beating up on teams within their own division.
With Sunday's win over the Nationals, their 19th in their last 22 games, the Braves improved to 28-12 against the Nats, Marlins, and Phillies. The only exception has been the Mets, who have split evenly with the Braves through 14 meetings this season. Atlanta will get the chance to change that as they open up a quick two-game series with the Mets at Citi Field.
After Saturday's 15-inning loss to the Nats, the Braves had to alter their rotation after Kris Medlen threw 47 pitches over three innings in relief. Brandon Beachy has been moved up to pitch in Medlen's spot tonight.
Beachy is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. Since struggling in his first start back against the Rockies, the right-hander has authored three consecutive quality starts.
Mets will counter with Zack Wheeler, who is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA in 11 starts. The Georgia native has already faced the Braves twice this season, including his Major League debut on June 18. In those two starts against his hometown team, Wheeler has allowed three earned runs on eight hits over 12 innings with seven walks and 12 strikeouts.
Wheeler racked up a career-high 12 strikeouts against the Padres while walking just one batter and surrendered one run over six innings.

Travis d'Arnaud to stay in big leagues:
After yesterday's 6-1 win over the Twins, the Mets announced that catcher Travis d'Arnaud will remain with the Major League club. He was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas on Saturday after John Buck left the team to go on paternity leave. With John Buck returning to the club today, Mets optioned Anthony Recker back to Vegas.
In three games as a big leaguer, d'Arnaud is hitless in seven at-bats with five walks.

Jason Heyward stays hot at leadoff spot, Gosselin gets first two big league hits:
Outfielder Jason Heyward blasted two home runs on Saturday, including a game-tying, two-run shot in the ninth inning, continuing the tear he has been on since moving to the leadoff spot on July 27. Before going hitless in one pinch hit at-bat on Sunday, Heyward was hitting .375 with a 1.076 OPS in 20 games.
Second basemen Phil Gosselin collected his first two Major League hits in his first start on Sunday. Gosselin was called up on Friday after Tyler Pastornicky tore his ACL after colliding in right field with Jason Heyward.

Side note:
Braves 16-game lead is the largest lead thy have held since 2002, when they won the division by 19 games.
Braves are 4-3 at Citi Field this season.
Brandon Beachy makes his first start tonight at Citi Field and has only pitched against the Mets once, back in 2011.

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