New York (33-34) at Atlanta (38-30)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Atlanta, GA
Temp: 63° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Wed Jun 15, 2011
  • TV: SNY, FSS
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves may boast one of the best rotations in baseball, but the New York Mets’ starters have been better in the season series.

Dillon Gee(notes) is a big reason why.

Gee looks to become the first Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden to win his first eight starts of the season Wednesday night, when he tries for his third win of the year over a Braves team that will get back Jason Heyward(notes).

Atlanta (38-30) has a 3.32 ERA from its starters to rank among baseball’s leaders, but the rotation has posted a 4.54 ERA in losing three straight and four of seven to New York (33-34).

Mets starters have a 2.70 ERA versus the Braves, and a 1.27 ERA during the win streak in the series after Jonathon Niese(notes) outpitched Jair Jurrjens(notes) in a 4-3 victory Tuesday.

Gee (7-0, 3.05 ERA) bested Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson(notes) - Atlanta’s top two starters - to win his two matchups with Atlanta in 2011, allowing one run in 12 2-3 innings.

The last Met to win his first eight decisions was Gooden in 1988, and the last rookie to do it was Jered Weaver(notes) of the Los Angeles Angels in 2006.

“There’s definitely still a lot of work to be done, I feel like,” Gee said.

“I don’t want to look into (the streak) too much. I definitely feel like I’m gaining more confidence every time out. But it’s hard work here, and I have to keep working to maintain where I’m at and gain a little better, too.”

Gee yielded one run hits in eight innings of an 8-1 win at Pittsburgh on Friday. That performance came six days after a 5-0 home victory over the Braves, whom he limited to four hits in seven innings.

Gee has won five starts in a row with a 2.02 ERA.

“I can’t say enough good things about the job he’s done on that mound, controlling his emotions, keeping himself in the game and just making pitches,” manager Terry Collins said. “He’s been really amazing to watch.”

So has shortstop Jose Reyes(notes), who leads the majors with a .346 average and had three hits, two runs and an RBI on Tuesday. He is batting .438 with five triples, two homers, 12 RBIs and 21 runs over the last 18 games.

Reyes has a .290 average with two homers off Tim Hudson(notes) (5-5, 4.06), who will look to win consecutive starts for the first time since opening the season 2-0.

Hudson gave up two runs in six innings of an 11-4 win at Houston on Friday after allowing 13 total earned runs in two of his last three starts. That rough stretch was capped with a 6-4 loss at New York on June 5, when he lasted four innings and surrendered five runs.

The right-hander has won three of his four home starts against the Mets, posting a 3.00 ERA while completing at least six innings each time.

Heyward will make his return to the lineup after missing 18 games with inflammation in his right shoulder. He is hitting .214 with seven homers and 14 RBIs, and batted .098 in 17 games in May before being placed on the disabled list.

“It means we’re getting healthier,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “There’s a big presence in our lineup. Hopefully he takes off.”

The Braves are also expecting to have Freddie Freeman(notes) in the starting lineup after he missed his second straight start Tuesday due to a mild right oblique strain. The first baseman has a .339 average in 15 games, and is 7 for 17 with four RBIs in six games against the Mets this season.

Atlanta has dropped back-to-back games following a six-game winning streak.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Gee NYM vs. T. Hudson SF
13-6 Record 16-10
4.43 ERA 3.22
114 K 158
71 BB 56
1.38 WHIP 1.14

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jun 15