The Atlanta Braves have been pitching superbly lately. Now, perhaps their hitting is turning around.
The Braves will try to build on a stellar day at the plate Sunday, when they go for a fifth straight win overall and a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.
Atlanta (80-60) recorded its third consecutive shutout in Friday's series opener and its 31st consecutive scoreless inning - the franchise's longest streak in 20 years - during another win over New York on Saturday.
The Braves also got plenty of help from their lineup in Saturday's 11-3 rout. Brian McCann had four hits and four RBIs after going 1 for 24 over his previous six games.
Atlanta, which finished with 17 hits, had batted .215 over its previous 11 contests and had totaled five runs in its previous four.
"These types of games, they're not going to come very often," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I'd rather have pitching and defense, rather than slow-pitch softball."
McCann and the Braves will now face Mets starter Chris Young (4-7, 4.48 ERA), who is coming off his first win in a month. The right-hander gave up one run in five innings of a 5-1 victory in Miami last Sunday after going 1-6 with a 5.37 ERA over his previous 10 starts.
Young was tagged for five runs in a season-low three innings in a 7-5 loss at Turner Field on July 13, his first matchup with Atlanta in four years.
He'll be opposed by Tommy Hanson (12-8, 4.40), who has struggled mightily in recent starts against the Mets (65-74).
Hanson is 0-4 with a 7.36 ERA in his last five matchups with New York but was also on the wrong end of a season-opening 1-0 defeat at Citi Field on April 5. He's 0-3 with a 5.52 ERA in his last three outings overall but gave up just two runs - on a pair solo homers - over 5 2-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to Colorado on Tuesday.
"It's too bad that he got the (loss), because I thought his performance was better than that," Gonzalez told the Braves' official website.
Gonzalez's club has won nine of its last 10 games against the Mets, and is going for its second three-game road sweep of New York in three seasons.
This game will also mark Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones' last road contest against the New York Mets. The 40-year-old Jones, who is retiring after this season, is a .190 career hitter at Citi Field after batting .313 at the Mets' former home, Shea Stadium.
Jones is 6 for 10 with two homers lifetime against Young, while McCann is 0 for 7.
Josh Thole has more hits off Hanson than any other batter, going 11 for 24 (.458), while the Braves right-hander has fanned David Wright 10 times - more than any other hitter. Wright is 4 for 25 (.160) in their matchups.
- Atlanta Braves
- New York
- Fredi Gonzalez
- Brian McCann
- the New York Mets