Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pre-Game: Game 1 - Atlanta Braves @ New York Mets

The New York Mets will open their 2012 campaign with a visit from their division rivals the Atlanta Braves. After collapsing down the stretch and failing to make the playoffs on the last day of 2011, the Atlanta Braves feel that they have something to prove and it begins today at Citi Field.

After an off-season dominated by their "lack of pursuit" of Jose Reyes and the Bernie Madoff Scandal, it is finally time to step on the field and play the game. The 2012 Mets might not be the overwhelming favorite by anybody in the baseball world, but this is a team of young players who are full of pride and will not let their credits put them down.

Today marks the return of Mets "Ace" Johan Santana. After missing the entire 2011 season following shoulder surgery in 2010, Santana will finally take the mound once again to the delight of the entire Mets organization and fanbase. Santana defeated all odds this spring by not having any setbacks in his recovery and will take the ball for the Season Opener. Despite the fact that he will be on a strict pitch count (85-90 pitches), just seeing Johan on the mound brings a tremendous emotional lift to this ball club. In his career against the Atlanta Braves, Santana has a record of 3-6, with a 2.28 ERA.

On the mound for the Atlanta Braves will be young righty Tommy Hanson. Hanson has been very impressive so far in his young career, pitching to a 32-22 record, with a 3.29 ERA. The young righty has struggled to stay healthy however and had to have his 2011 season cut short due to right shoulder discomfort. In his career against the New York Mets Hanson is 3-3, with a 3.69 ERA.

Game time is scheduled for 1:10 PM. Here are the starting lineups:

For the Visiting Atlanta Braves (0-0):

1. Michael Bourn CF
2. Martin Prado 3B
3. Brian McCann C
4. Dan Uggla 2B
5. Freddie Freeman 1B
6. Matt Diaz LF
7. Jason Heyward RF
8. Tyler Pastornicky
9. Tommy Hanson P

For the New York Mets:

1. Andres Torres CF
2. Daniel Muprhy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Jason Bay LF
6. Lucas Duda RF
7. Josh Thole C
8. Ruben Tejada SS
9. Johan Santana P