Atlanta has won the last six games Ramirez has started, including a 10-4 victory over New York on May 24.
As the team’s fifth starter, Ramirez has been skipped in the rotation twice already this season, but if he keeps pitching well, manager Bobby Cox may be forced to keep giving him the ball every fifth day. With Thursday’s off day, Cox had considered skipping Ramirez and starting Shane Reynolds instead.
Ramirez has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last six starts, winning three of them, and has given up more than two runs only once.
New York hopes to build off Saturday’s 4-2 victory over Atlanta that evened the series.
Sunday’s starter for the Mets, Al Leiter, will try to be more economical with his pitches after throwing 136 in just six innings against Philadelphia in Tuesday’s 4-2 win.
“My style of pitching, it’s hard for me to get low pitch counts,” Leiter said. “I know you get to 100, bells start ringing. But it’s how you get to that number. I wasn’t clueless out there. I had good stuff. I was in control.”
Leiter didn’t allow a run on Tuesday, but walked six and struck out eight.
STANDINGS: Braves - 1st place, NL East. Mets - 4th place, 12 GB, NL East.
BRAVES PROBABLE STARTER: Ramirez (4-2, 3.76 ERA). Ramirez’s last defeat came on April 11 when he was beaten by Florida. In his win over the Mets on May 24— his first career start against them—Ramirez allowed two runs over seven innings, striking out four and walking two.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Leiter (5-2, 4.21 ERA). Leiter has allowed just three runs over his last 12 innings. However, he has been a bit wild during that stretch, walking 12 batters. He already has 37 walks this season in just 66 innings. The left-hander is 7-9 with a 2.79 ERA in 21 career starts against Atlanta.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Braves - Gary Sheffield, .342 avg., 14 HRs and 47 RBIs; Rafael Furcal, 54 runs and 10 SBs. Mets - Roberto Alomar, .268 avg. and 5 SBs; Cliff Floyd, 10 HRs and 31 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 31 runs.
SEASON SERIES: Braves, 3-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Braves - Atlanta failed to hit a home run on Saturday, settling for just tying the NL record for homers in a month with 55. … LF Chipper Jones left the game in the ninth inning after jamming his left wrist. Cox said he wouldn’t know more about the injury until Sunday. … C Javy Lopez didn’t play because a slightly strained right hamstring. Cox said he might also hold Lopez out of the starting lineup on Sunday, but he would be available to pinch hit. Mets - New York placed LHP Mike Stanton on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a swollen left knee and recalled LHP Mike Bacsik from Triple-A Norfolk. Stanton has been bothered by the knee for about two weeks and hasn’t pitched since May 21 against Philadelphia. … With his next appearance, LHP John Franco will become the eighth player to pitch in 1,000 games. He trails Rich Gossage by three games for seventh place all-time. … LF Floyd and 2B Alomar didn’t play Saturday because of nagging injuries. Alomar has a hip flexor that bothers him against lefties and Floyd has a sore Achilles’ that has hampered him all year.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Braves - 18-9 on the road; Mets - 14-12 at home.
INJURIES: Braves - C Lopez (hamstring), day-to-day; LF Jones (wrist); RHP Paul Byrd (elbow), 15-day DL. Mets - C Mike Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; IF Jay Bell (groin), 15-day DL; OF Timo Perez (calf), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 60-day DL; IF Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL.