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May 22, 2007
  
Upcoming Series: Atlanta Braves Pitchers
by: Alex Nelson on May 22, 2007 1:47 AM | Filed under: Articles

The Subway Series is nice and all (especially when you win two of three), but it’s nice to get back to games that matter a little more. And the Mets (28-15) sure have a series that matters up next, as they head to Turner Field to face the Atlanta Braves (26-18). The Mets currently sit two-and-a-half games ahead of Atlanta for first place in the NL East. The Braves have not been playing quite as well as the Mets have lately, losing two of three to the Red Sox last weekend and three of four to the lowly Nationals before that.

In Tuesday’s game, the suddenly reborn Jorge Sosa (3-0, 2.25) faces his former team, who counter with Kyle Davies (1-2, 5.17). Wednesday’s game features Oliver Perez (5-3, 2.90) and Chuck James (4-3, 4.15). Thursday’s finale will pit Tom Glavine (5-1, 3.43) against his former teammate John Smoltz (6-2, 2.85). Again.

Game 1: Kyle Davies

What’s the Story? To see my original scouting report on Davies, please look here.

This Year: Davies made his first start of the season against the Mets and pitched quite well, going just shy of seven innings while allowing just two runs on four hits and three walks, while striking out eight. He did, however, give up back-to-back homeruns to Shawn Green and Ramon Castro, as well as a triple to Jose Reyes. Davies generally did a good job of locating his fastball and recorded some big strikeouts to strand runners to limit the scoring to those two homers.

What to Expect: Davies’ command has been better of late, as he’s solidified his spot in the Braves’ rotation which he didn’t really have coming out of Spring Training. He’ll try to continue that trend by getting ahead of hitters with his fastball and finishing them off with his curveball or changeup. He’ll make a mistake or two, and can be prone to leaving a fastball up in the zone or hanging a breaking pitch. I think the Mets will have an easier game with him this time around.

Game 2: Chuck James

What’s the Story? To see my original scouting report on James, please look here.

This Year: James got beat up on April 21st at Shea Stadium. James pitched five-and-a-third, giving up six runs on ten hits. He walked a pair and struck out three. He had problems with his old nemesis the homer: Castro, Jose Reyes, and Damion Easley each hit one.

What to Expect: James is really the rare one-pitch pitcher. His fastball is deceptive enough, and he’s smart enough in how he uses it, to succeed to some degree despite lacking a great secondary offering. He’ll change speeds and locations with the fastball in an attempt to keep Mets hitters off-balance and will mix in his change and slider occasionally. But the Mets hit him hard last time by being aggressive and by trusting James’s extreme flyball nature. The Mets, a patient team with a lot of pop in their bats, are an especially poor match for James.

Game 3: John Smoltz

What’s the Story? To see my original scouting report on Smoltz, please look here.

This Year: Smoltz is already making his third start against the Mets, each opposite Glavine. His first start was pretty fair, as he went six innings and allowed just two runs. But he did allow eleven batters to reach base—via seven hits and four walks—and allowed a homer to Paul Lo Duca. His second start was less effective, as he got knocked out in the sixth inning. He allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks and gave up a homerun to Green. In both starts the Mets managed to force him to exit early by running up his pitch count quickly.

What to Expect: Smoltzie dislocated his pinky against the Nationals, and I was concerned that he’d have trouble throwing his splitter and changeup. Despite poor weather, he showed few effects from the injury in his last start against the Red Sox, when he shut their potent offense down for seven innings. He did have trouble throwing both pitches at first, but regained them as the game moved along. Still, Smoltz might be even more reliant on his fastball-slider combination than usual which will make him a little easier to face.

Overall: I like the Mets’ matchups for this series. Davies beat the Mets the last time out, but he’s been thoroughly average since, and the Mets seem to have Chuck James’s number. Of course, I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Braves crushed their former teammate Sosa, either. Smoltz really has been quite hittable for the Mets’ bats this season, but every time he goes out there, Glavine pitches worse. Due to my lack of an imagination, I’ll predict that trend continues. So, I’m picking the Mets to win the first two while losing the third straight Smoltz-Glavine reunion. It’s a big series whose outcome could help define the Braves’ playoff chances. A sweep puts them in first place, while a Mets sweep pushes them five-and-a-half games out. It should be a fun series to watch.


19 Responses to “Upcoming Series: Atlanta Braves Pitchers”

  1. Comment posted by Dave in Spain on May 22, 2007 at 2:18 am (#352184)

    Primero!

  2. Comment posted by Welb on May 22, 2007 at 6:39 am (#352200)

    The Brave’s will take 2 out of 3 with a possibilty of a sweep.The Brave’s know what this series means to their season.And will not let the Met’s even think of pulling away with the division lead to far this year.The Met’s will feel the heat from them all year.So sit back and enjoy the long haul Met’s fans.

  3. Comment posted by Erick on May 22, 2007 at 6:48 am (#352201)

    Cant take a pos’ter serious’ly who cant us’e an apos’trophe properly. Oviously the work of someone who spent some (but not enough) time in the Georgia school system.

  4. Comment posted by sheadenizen on May 22, 2007 at 8:53 am (#352222)

    Cant take a pos’ter serious’ly who cant us’e an apos’trophe properly. Oviously the work of someone who spent some (but not enough) time in the Georgia school system.

    Maybe too much? Wonder if he’s fixin’ to go to the game?

  5. Comment posted by Virginia Met’s Fan on May 22, 2007 at 9:19 am (#352231)

    Wonder if he’s fixin’ to go to the game?

    I’ll bet not going. We all know no one from Atlanta ever goes to the games, regular season or play offs.

  6. Comment posted by C Low on May 22, 2007 at 9:36 am (#352247)

    The Brave’s will take 2 out of 3 with a possibilty of a sweep.

    Whatever Gollum.

    This’ will be’s the begin’ings of the end’s for the Brave’s. Let’s see how they fair’s with upcoming series’ss Met’s,Phillies’,at Brewers’, at Cubs’

  7. Comment posted by Mike C. on May 22, 2007 at 10:42 am (#352388)

    I don’t see a sweep in the cards, either way. Both teams are too good for that.

    The rest day will probably do the Mets well, though, and I think the bats going nuts will win one game for the Mets and great pitching will win a second and… a pitcher blowing up will lose a third.

    But as toward which game will be which I’m unclear.

  8. Comment posted by ajsmith on May 22, 2007 at 11:32 am (#352481)

    I think 2 of 3 is exactly right, with the Braves taking the finale against Glavine.

    Funny that the Mets pitchers I am most confident in right now are Perez and Sosa in that order. Johnnie Maine needs to get his location back - he’s had some dunks and bleeders finding holes the last three starts, but has also had a ton of balls hit hard.

    Glavine is scuffling a bit, and at his age, every time he goes through one of these periods you begin to wonder if it’ll come back for him. It’ll be nice to get El Duque back too (this weekend, perhaps?) Now that we have three hard throwers in the rotation, slotting Duque’s slop between two of them seems to make everyone more effective.

    Anyone heard from Pedro? Tell him I said d’sup. What a boost that would be.

  9. Comment posted by Danny on May 22, 2007 at 1:11 pm (#352638)

    I hope the Mets sweep just so people stop worrying about the Braves so much. They’re not in our class.

  10. Comment posted by joemetsfan on May 22, 2007 at 1:35 pm (#352647)

    2 of 3 would be great, if only because the Braves won the first two series. Still, too early to hype this series too much–even if the Mets sweep, the lead is only 5 1/2, which can be made up in a week. I still think both teams are playing in October.

  11. Comment posted by metswin3122 on May 22, 2007 at 5:11 pm (#352926)

    My heart says Mets 2 out of 3. My brain says it’s more likely 1 of 3. At least both teams’ cleanup hitters are currently automatic outs. Jones and Delgado’s respective suckiness will pretty much cancel each other out.

  12. Comment posted by robert griffin on May 22, 2007 at 5:33 pm (#352936)

    I wonder why if James is really a one pitch pitcher scouts and the announcers I heard watching the braves games haven’t said as much. I live in atlanta and I watch a lot of the braves games when the Mets aren’t on tv, even though i hate the braves. Its like my opinion of Salty their back up catcher, the guy has had 1 good year in the minors with a .313 average, but could never hit higher then .273 before that or after. They are acting like salty is a annual .300 + hitter which he is not, in 4 years in the minors his hitting was really nothing to talk about.

  13. Comment posted by robert griffin on May 22, 2007 at 5:41 pm (#352944)

    welb, I think the Braves already know deep down inside they have already lost the lead and most likely anything that matters to the Mets. Numbers don’t lie, when you have the best starting pitching and bull pen in the national league or close to it, and the #1 offense then the odds sooner or later will catch you. The Braves are pitching with two solid aces in hudson and smoltz but after that 3 guys with era’s all near or over 5.00. It said a month ago once the Braves start playing winning teams that they will fold, and that seems to be the case. Hudson and Smoltz can’t be perfect everytime out, and their next 3 pitchers in my opinion have pitched awful up this point, and doesn’t look like they will get any better. I doubt the Braves will hang on to us for another 30 days if Andrew Jones is hits under .280 for those 30 days. They have no speed, an over-rated bullpen, and really unless they hit homeruns they can’t win. Thats how I view it anyways.

  14. Comment posted by L Millz on May 22, 2007 at 6:09 pm (#352979)

    Ya’ll got mah new album? Sheet be tight!

  15. Comment posted by James from SC on May 22, 2007 at 6:50 pm (#353045)

    I disagree about the over-rated bullpen, the Braves have a very good bullpen with a few players that I would not mind having at all. They don’t have a Wagner to lock up the bullpen, but they still have one of the better pens in the NL. Course, the Mets have a better pen with Wagner-Heilman-Smith-Feliciano, but that is only if Heilman is truely back on his game as he has seemed to be the last 10 games or so.

    Remember, this series is 4-2 instead of 2-4 if we have Heilman on his game earlier this year. I think we definitely take 2 of 3 this week, but I think 3 of 3 will be a tall order with Smoltz throwing game 3 and Sosa pitching game one. Either Sosa pitches great or Smoltz finally gets beaten by Glavine. Perez will hopefully continue his dominance of this team this season and throw another solid game.

  16. Comment posted by Bangkok Mets Fan on May 22, 2007 at 9:23 pm (#353553)

    Mets will win game 2 as Oliver will once again show that he loves to pitch in big games. Expect another Ollie gem. Glavine vs. Smoltz? Deja-vu bleech. So it comes down to the first game to take the series.

  17. Comment posted by Welb on May 23, 2007 at 8:50 am (#353866)

    That’s one down and now if James comes through tonight,the sweep is on!!!

  18. Comment posted by Welb on May 24, 2007 at 6:49 am (#355263)

    Well,as I feared James and the Braves couldn’t get at Perez,so I guess we’ll probably only get 2 out of 3…Not a bad effort for a team that some of you Met fans think are all washed up…

  19. Comment posted by Welb on May 25, 2007 at 10:32 am (#356919)

    Like the old Meatloaf tune “Two outta Three ain’t Bad”!!!See you Mets fans in August….By the way that’s also 6 out of 9 this year…You might want to clone Perez as he is the only possibly of you winning more than one game in every series against us…Peace

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