Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pre-Game: New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves

The New York Mets (7-4) will oppose the Atlanta Braves (6-5) this afternoon at 12:10 PM as they look to take the rubber match of a 3 game series that has seen a Jekyll and Hyde performance from their pitching staff.

Heading into yesterday evening's game, the Mets pitching staff boasted an ERA in the low 2s, an impressive number for a team that had pitching dubbed as a major vulnerability. However, following Johan Santana's shortest outing of his career and an unstable bullpen effort, the Mets were shut down 9-3 en route to their 4th loss of they year.

R.A Dickey (2-0, 2.08 ERA) will look to complete the series victory as he comes off two great starts to begin his campaign. Dickey has struggled against the Braves at home, pitching to the tune of a 4.98 ERA.

He'll be opposed by Jair Jurrjens (0-1, 7.71 ERA), who has looked anything like he did during his dominant first half in 2010. During his first start of the year against the Mets, Jurrjens couldn't quite find a rhythm and allowed 3 runs and 7 hits before being pulled after 4 1/3 innings.

Although Terry Collins announced yesterday that when Andres Torres returns he'll have his starting job secured, Kirk Nieuwenhuis has made that decision anything but easy and is looking to make a big impression today as he bats leadoff for the first time in his major league career. With Ruben Tejada receiving his first off day, Nieuwenhuis, who is batting .321 and getting on base at a .387 clip, will look to take advantage of a big opportunity after reaching base safely twice more yesterday.

New York Mets Starting Lineup:
1. Kirk Nieuwenhuis CF
2. Daniel Murphy 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Ike Davis 1B
5. Jason Bay RF
6. Lucas Duda LF
7.  Josh Thole C
8. Ronny Cedeno SS
9. R.A Dickey P