Mets-Braves Preview

The Associated Press

Mike Minor looks to conclude his regular season with another impressive performance.

The Atlanta Braves hope he'll get a chance to carry that success into the playoffs.

Minor looks to match the longest winning streak of his career Saturday night when the Braves face the New York Mets in the middle game of this series.

Minor (10-10, 4.27 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.48 ERA in his last six starts, going 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four outings this month.

A victory in this game would be his fifth straight, matching his career high set over seven starts from June 21-Sept. 8, 2011.

Minor's success is a big reason he's expected to be part of the Braves' postseason rotation. It's also a vast improvement after his ERA reached 7.09 in May. That included his only meeting with the Mets on April 8, when he surrendered six runs with four walks in five innings of a 7-5 defeat.

"He went from possibly being on the brink of being sent down to being one of our most consistent pitchers over the last month or month and a half," third baseman Chipper Jones told the team's official website. "He's been outstanding. He can go out and compete with anybody."

Minor continued his dazzling run in an 8-2 victory at Philadelphia on Saturday, yielding two runs and two hits with six strikeouts in six innings.

"It's just experience," said Minor, who is 2-1 with a 7.56 ERA in five career starts versus New York. "It's about having a better game plan, pitching to my strengths and kind of knowing the guys and how to pitch them."

Atlanta (91-66) may need another strong performance from Minor after the offense was held to four hits in Friday's 3-1 loss, just the Braves' second defeat in 12 meetings with New York. It was also a night to honor retiring Jones, who is 0 for 9 in the last three games.

"I'm glad it's over," Jones said. "I just want to concentrate on baseball. All the attention needs to take a backseat so we can focus on the job at hand."

While the Braves have secured the NL's top wild-card spot, they still have an outside chance at catching NL East-leading Washington. They trail by four games with five to play.

New York has won seven of eight, averaging 5.1 runs and hitting 12 homers.

Chris Young (4-8, 4.21) would certainly appreciate that type of production as he takes the mound for the final time in 2012.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three starts since winning at Miami on Sept. 2. He's been backed by four total runs in those three appearances.

Despite his losing record and failing to win any of his eight home starts, manager Terry Collins likes what he sees out of Young since he's returned from major shoulder surgery in June.

"Chris has really been amazing," Collins told the team's official website. "I can't say enough about what kind of a guy (he is), and how hard he's had to work. ... He keeps himself in tremendous shape and just knows what he's doing on the mound."

Young is 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA in two starts against the Braves this year, losing 7-5 at Atlanta on July 13. He was tagged for five runs and six hits with three walks in three innings.

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