Series preview: vs. Mets
When (TV): 7:35 p.m. Friday (FSSO), 7:10 p.m. Saturday (FSSO), 1:35 p.m. Sunday (FSSO).
Radio: 680, 93.7, 100.5
Probable starting pitchers:
Friday: Braves LH Mike Minor (3-2, 3.13 ERA) vs. RH Shaun Marcum (0-2, 7.94)
Saturday: Braves RH Julio Teheran (1-0, 5.08) vs. LH Jonathon Niese (2-2, 3.31)
Sunday: Braves RH Tim Hudson (3-1, 3.86) vs. RH Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.56)
About the Braves:
Batting: Chris Johnson was leading the National League in hitting entering Thursday night (.369), prompting manager Fredi Gonzalez to move him up to the second spot in the order for his second consecutive game — and the second time in his career. The Braves’ streak of double-digit strikeouts ended at six games Wednesday night, when they struck out nine times against Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann and Rafael Soriano.
Pitching: Minor is coming off his first bad start of the season, when he allowed six earned runs in 6 2/3 innings to the Tigers, including two home runs. Minor allowed only five earned runs in his first four starts combined, over 25 innings. Entering Thursday, the Braves bullpen led the majors with a 1.99 ERA and ranked second with a .210 opponents’ batting average.
Miscellaneous: The Braves were 10-2 in NL East play entering Thursday night’s series finale against Washington. This is the first meeting with the Mets this season. The Braves went 12-6 against the Mets last season, including 12 wins in their past 14 meetings.
About the Mets:
Batting: Catcher John Buck hit nine home runs in April, tying a major league record for April for home runs by a catcher, joining Johnny Bench (1971) and Charles Johnson (2001). He ranks third in the NL in home runs and leads the league in RBIs with 27. The Mets rank 25th in the majors with a .237 batting average. David Wright is hitting .462 (12-for-26) with runners in scoring position, fifth in the NL.
Pitching: Marcum took the loss in Monday’s 15-inning game against the Marlins after he was forced to pitch in relief, giving up two runs in 1 2/3 innings. He lost to the Phillies two days earlier, giving up three runs in four innings. The Braves will face the rookie Harvey, who won NL pitcher of the month in April after going 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in six starts in April, while striking out 46 in 40 1/3 innings. The Mets’ bullpen ERA of 4.68 ranks 28th of 30 major league teams.
Miscellaneous: The Mets had lost six in a row before salvaging a 7-6 win in their series finale Wednesday against the Marlins. The Mets had back-to-back walk-off losses in the first two games for their first consecutive walk-off losses since 2003.