Atlanta (79-70) at New York (65-85)

Fair Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Sep 21, 2009
  • TV: SPSO, SNY
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With little chance of winning the NL East, the Atlanta Braves’ playoff hopes ride on a wild-card berth.

Playing the New York Mets could be a good jumpstart for the Braves’ final stretch run.

Still aiming for its first playoff appearance in four seasons, Atlanta opens a three-game set against the Mets on Monday night at Citi Field.

The Braves (79-70) won seven straight heading into their weekend series against NL East-leading Philadelphia, but lost two of three to the defending World Series champions to fall 8 1/2 games back.

Atlanta trails Colorado by 5 1/2 games in the wild-card standings with 13 to play.

“It’s discouraging,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones(notes) said following Sunday’s 4-2 loss. “We played pretty well. We thought we swung the bats real good today, just hit a lot of balls at people.

“It’s not over until you’re mathematically eliminated. Obviously we need some help but we’ve still got to take care of business.”

The Braves open their second series against the Mets in a week after sweeping them in a three-game set that ended Thursday at Turner Field.

Atlanta looks to win six straight over their NL East foe for the first time since a seven-game stretch in July 2003.

Braves ace Derek Lowe(notes) (14-9, 4.53 ERA) is expected to start Monday after a blister on his right ring finger hampered him in his last start.

Lowe gave up three runs and five hits over a season-low two innings in Wednesday’s 6-5 win over the Mets.

In his last start at Citi Field, Lowe gave up eight runs and 11 hits over 3 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss Aug. 18.

“That’s one of those things that bothers you that night and then you move on the next day,” he told the Braves’ official Web site.

New York (65-85) counters with Pat Misch(notes) (1-3, 4.21). In his first career start against the Braves, the left-hander went five innings and yielded four runs and eight hits in Tuesday’s 6-0 loss.

Misch is 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five career appearances versus Atlanta. He is 1-7 with a 6.14 ERA in 15 career starts.

He will try to help New York win three straight for the first time since a five-game streak from July 25-30.

Wilson Valdez(notes) had a two-run triple and Daniel Murphy(notes) went 2 for 4 with two RBIs as New York won its first series since late July by defeating Washington 6-2 on Sunday.

“I think I’m just trying to square the ball up as many times as I can and, especially to right-center, this park rewards you for that,” said Murphy, batting .347 with two homers and 11 RBIs in his last 13 games. “There’s a lot of extra-base hits out there if you swing at a good pitch and put a good swing on it.”

Mets right fielder Jeff Francoeur(notes) went 0 for 3 on Sunday, but he is hitting .442 in his last 11 games. He is batting .268 in 10 games against Atlanta since being acquired from the Braves on July 10.

Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche(notes) missed Sunday’s game with a sore back.

“Hopefully it’s nothing that will keep me out very long,” he told the Braves’ official Web site.

LaRoche hit a solo shot off Misch in Tuesday’s victory.

The Braves have won 10 of 15 against the Mets in 2009, including four of six at Citi Field.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Lowe Tex vs. P. Misch Phi
15-10 Record 3-4
4.67 ERA 4.48
111 K 23
63 BB 22
1.52 WHIP 1.44

Scoreboard

Monday, Sep 21