The New York Mets’ impressive season-opening winning streak is over, but they still have a chance to make a statement against their NL East rivals.
The Mets look to earn a series win against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday when the teams wrap up their three-game set at Turner Field.
New York (4-1) opened the season with four straight victories, outscoring its opponents 31-3. After pounding Atlanta 11-1 in Friday’s series opener, however, the winning streak ended with a 5-3 loss on Saturday.
Braves starter John Smoltz outpitched former teammate and golfing buddy Tom Glavine in just the second matchup between the two star pitchers. Smoltz gave up two runs in six innings for the win, while Glavine, who is in his fifth season with the Mets after spending his first 16 with the Braves, gave up five runs— two earned—in 5 1-3 innings and was charged with the loss.
“It was a matchup as advertised,” said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. “Both threw great. We were lucky to get more than one run off Glavine.”
Matt Diaz homered and drove in two runs for the Braves (4-1), who opened the season with a three-game sweep of the Phillies in Philadelphia. Catcher Brian McCann went 0-for-4, failing to record a hit for the first time this season.
Atlanta is hoping to bounce back this season after failing to win a division title in 2006 for the first time in 15 seasons. The Mets won the NL East last season, while the Braves finished 18 games back in third.
Orlando Hernandez (1-0, 1.29 ERA) will look to lead the Mets to the series victory on Sunday. Hernandez had a strong debut on Tuesday, allowing just one run in seven innings and hitting a two-run double that matched his career RBI output in a 4-1 win at St. Louis.
“If I hit, it’s OK. I’m most happy that I threw seven innings and threw all of my pitches,” he said.
The 37-year-old right-hander, who missed the 2006 postseason with a calf injury, won both of his starts against the Braves last season, allowing just four unearned runs in those outings. He is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five career starts against the Braves.
Including a win in Game 1 of the 1999 World Series for the Yankees, Hernandez is 4-0 with a 0.67 ERA in four starts at Turner Field.
Atlanta will counter with Kyle Davies, who was recalled from Triple-A Richmond on Wednesday to replace Lance Cormier. Cormier beat out Davies for a spot in the rotation, but has a strained right triceps and was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 31.
“It was one of those things that maybe needed to happen,” Davies told the Braves’ official Web site. “I felt comfortable and great during spring training. I got outpitched. It gave me a week to kind of get something going. I feel great right now.”
Davies went 7-6 with a 4.93 ERA in 21 appearances, including 14 starts, as a rookie in 2005, but struggled to a 3-7 mark with an 8.38 ERA in 14 starts last season. He suffered a severe strain to his right groin on May 15 and went 1-4 with a 13.06 ERA in six September starts when he returned.
Davies is 3-2 with a 4.54 ERA in seven career appearances, including six starts, against the Mets, and suffered a pair of losses to them in September in which he allowed 11 runs in 8 1-3 innings. He did, however, toss a three-hitter against them in a 7-1 victory at Shea Stadium on April 18.
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