Jeff Wilpon didn’t arrive in Atlanta to place blame for the New York Mets’ struggles. There is, however, a clear culprit when Johan Santana(notes) starts against the Atlanta Braves: dismal performances at the plate.
Another outstanding outing from Santana could help the Mets win their second straight since getting a visit from their chief operating officer, but they need to find a way to support their ace as they face the Braves on Tuesday night.
With New York (19-20) mired in a five-game losing streak, Wilpon met with manager Jerry Manuel, general manager Omar Minaya and assistant general manager John Ricco prior to the opener of this two-game set. Manuel said it was “a good baseball meeting” to discuss “our plan going forward.”
“I didn’t come here to fire anybody, guys. Sorry,” Wilpon said.
The Mets went on to win for the second time in nine games, beating the Braves 3-2 on Monday night. New York moved out of last place in the NL East, a half-game ahead of Atlanta (18-20).
“Pitching is the key,” Manuel said. “If we continue to get this kind of pitching, it at least gives us a chance.”
Pelfrey didn’t get any breathing room, with New York going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
Santana (3-2, 3.88 ERA) is all too familiar with poor production from New York’s lineup when facing Atlanta.
Since joining the Mets in 2008, Santana is 1-4 in seven starts against the Braves despite posting a 2.05 ERA. He has gotten two runs or fewer to work with in each of those outings.
At Atlanta, the left-hander is 1-2 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts.
Santana was sharp in his last outing, striking out five in seven scoreless innings of a 2-1 loss to Florida on Thursday night. He went 0-1 with an 11.12 ERA in his previous two games.
Atlanta is giving Kris Medlen(notes) (1-1, 2.35) his second career start due to Jair Jurrjen’s hamstring injury. In his first start, the right-hander surrendered one run and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings of a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on May 8.
Medlen has made four relief appearances versus the Mets, striking out six in 6 1-3 scoreless innings.
Atlanta couldn’t take advantage of an effective pitching performance in this series’ opener, going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position following a 5-for-15 performance in a 13-1 win over Arizona on Sunday.
Martin Prado(notes), though, was a bright spot for the Braves again, going 2 for 3 with a triple and a run. Prado, who was named NL player of the week Monday, is batting .552 (16 for 29) in his last eight games against the Mets.