Atlanta (82-60) at New York (70-71)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 50° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Thu Sep 8, 2011
  • TV: SPSO
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Atlanta Braves’ last trip to Queens was interrupted by Hurricane Irene. They may find themselves dealing with the elements again instead of the New York Mets.

With more rain in the forecast for Citi Field, the Braves attempt to avoid their first four-game losing streak this season during Thursday’s doubleheader against the surging Mets.

Atlanta (82-60) was scheduled to play a three-game series at New York (70-71) from Aug. 26-28, but Irene postponed the last two after a 6-0 loss in the opener.

The Braves are returning to make up those games with a twinbill, but there’s a chance of rain throughout the day with scattered thunderstorms expected later.

Atlanta is 3-6 since the hurricane, and it dropped 10 1/2 games back of NL East-leading Philadelphia with a 3-2 loss Wednesday, getting swept in a three-game series for the first time all year.

Despite being realistically eliminated from the division race, the Braves lead the wild-card chase by 6 1/2 games over St. Louis. They visit the Cardinals for a three-game series beginning Friday.

“We’re fighting for the wild card right now, and we just have to find a way to win some ballgames,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Improvement at the plate could be just what Gonzalez is looking for.

The Braves are hitting .261 in their last six games, but have a .182 average with runners in scoring position while totaling 16 runs and going 1-5 in that stretch.

Facing Chris Schwinden(notes) and Dillon Gee(notes) (12-5, 4.48 ERA) might be a good way to improve those numbers.

Schwinden is slated to make his major league debut in the opener, and he’ll look to help the Mets get back to .500 for the first time since they were 58-58 on Aug. 10.

The right-hander, a 22nd-round pick in 2008, went 8-8 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts for Triple-A Buffalo this year.

Gee is the Mets’ wins leader, but he’s posted a 7.18 ERA in six starts since the beginning of August - including a rough outing against the Braves. The rookie right-hander allowed five runs and three homers in five innings of a 6-5 loss to Atlanta on Aug. 7, although he didn’t get the decision.

Gee had been 2-0 with a 0.54 ERA in three previous starts - all New York wins - versus Atlanta in 2011.

The Mets have won 10 of 13 overall after scoring in the first inning and holding on for a 1-0 win over Florida on Wednesday.

Two of the Braves’ vaunted young pitchers are scheduled to take the mound Thursday.

Mike Minor(notes) (4-2, 4.09) will start the opener. Although all three of his starts against New York have ended in wins for the Braves, he’s compiled a bloated 6.60 ERA while Mets batters have hit .339.

The left-hander battled through six effective innings Saturday, yielding one run with seven strikeouts in Atlanta’s 2-1, 10-inning loss to Los Angeles.

“That’s where I think he’s grown the most,” catcher Brian McCann(notes) told the Braves’ official website. “When he doesn’t have his best stuff, he’s able to fight through that and keep putting up zeroes.”

Julio Teheran(notes) (0-1, 5.19) will make his third big league start in the nightcap.

The 20-year-old Teheran is one of the top pitching prospects in all of baseball, but he failed to complete five innings in each of his first two outings with Atlanta in May.

The right-hander, recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett on Saturday, went 15-3 with a 2.55 ERA in 25 games in the minors this year.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Minor Atl vs. C. Schwinden Tex
5-3 Record 0-2
4.14 ERA 4.71
77 K 17
30 BB 6
1.49 WHIP 1.38


Thursday, Sep 8