The Atlanta Braves (65-48) meet once again with the New York Mets (55-56) at Citi Field in Game two of a three-game series, with the Braves looking to pick up another win in order to keep their National League Wild Card bid well intact.
Tommy Hanson (11-6, 3.20 ERA) will take on Jonathon Niese (10-8, 3.94 ERA), with Hanson trying to keep his six-game road winning streak alive, while the Mets will try to get a longer showing out of Niese, who hasn’t had a quality start (7+ innings) in his last three outings).
Hanson has pitched very well on the road this season, sporting a 6-2 record with a 3.15 ERA (6-0 with a 2.77 ERA after the first two road outings of the year). In his last start against the Mets however, he only went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs in a 3-2 loss.
Niese on the other hand has had relative success posting a 2.57 ERA against the Braves this year going 1-0 with only 4 runs allowed in 14 innings of work.
The betting lines for today’s match-up at the Bodog.com sportsbook find the New York Mets as a slight underdog at home, coming in at +106 on the moneyline. The Braves are a +140 bet on the runline at +140. The over/under stands at 7 1/2 runs with +105 for the over wager and -125 for the under.
Against the 4th-ranked National League offense of the New York Mets, Atlanta’s bats will seek to get to Jonathon Niese early in order to give Tommy Hanson some room to work with. However, with the Mets currently slumping and getting outscored 21-9 during their five-game slide, this match-up doesn’t bode too well for Niese, who has not gotten good run support at home going 1-3 despite a 3.28 ERA in 5 starts there and only getting more than 3 runs of support once.
Players to Watch – Atlanta:
Dan Uggla, 2B -They’ll need to see a continuation of the outstanding production from Dan Uggla in tonight’s match-up, as both Uggla and Freddie Freeman have been tasked with filling the void left by Brian McCann’s recent stint on the 15-day disabled list. Uggla has no-doubt been one of the hottest hitters in baseball at the moment, currently riding a 26-game hitting streak while batting .350 with 11 home runs and 25 RBIs during that time.
Freddie Freeman, 1B – Freeman leads all rookies with a .300 batting average, and is riding his own 19-game hitting streak while hitting .416 during that stretch. Look for him to find continued success at the plate tonight against Niese.
Players to Watch – New York:
Jose Reyes, SS – Reyes needs to get his bat going again, as his batting average has fallen almost 20 points since returning from the disabled list (.355 to .336). He’s hitting .254 with 2 home runs with 4 RBIs, which while not bad, is certainly not up to his standard this season.
David Wright, 3B – Wright has been on a tear in the last two weeks since being inserted regularly into the line-up. He’s hitting .400 with 2 home runs and 14 RBIs during that span, providing a large percentage of the Mets’ run production.
Our Pick: The Atlanta Braves use their outstanding road starter Tommy Hanson, along with their highly rated bullpen and ace rookie closer Craig Kimbrel to shut down the Mets tonight.