After a somewhat uplifting two out of three from the San Francisco BALCOs, the Mets are resigned to the fate of facing the Braves in Turner Field. I don't like it one bit. I think Major League Baseball should move them to San Juan for a couple games, provided Cliff Floyd won't get hurt on the turf there. I think they should move to Tokyo so Kaz can recapture the stronghold on the Japanese Gold Glove at SS. Maybe to Mexico City so Jose Valentin is beset with a vicious case of coliform-induced diarrhea and Julio Franco can eat the best egg whites around. Heck, I'd move the Braves to Stade Olympique so Andruw Jones might be able to find a nationality to explain the peculiar spelling of his name. But for now they're in Atlanta, home of Lil' Jon and Ron Mexico. And despite all of the inevitable empty seats at the Ted, the Mets will be playing important games. Although these games are certainly of less importance than the memorable weekend at the end of July in 2004, we will now have some more venom in the rotation. Pedro will be on the hill, and I am assured by a contact in the Mets organization that Eric Valent will see no playing time during this series. And yet part of me worries inside, about a late inning collapse, about pitching way too much to Andruw Jones, about giving up a mammoth shot to Larry, or, worse yet, Jeff Francoeur's idiot smile. I predicted he would be a bust and I'm hungry for vindication on that one.
Game 1: Friday, 7:35
Pedro Martinez, RHP (4-0, 3.04 ERA) vs. John Smoltz, RHP (1-1, 4.15 ERA)
Game 2: Saturday, 7:05
Tom Glavine, LHP (2-2, 2.78 ERA) vs. John Thomson, RHP (0-0, 1.31 ERA)
Game 3: Sunday, 1:05 (NATIONAL TV: TBS)
Steve Trachsel, RHP (2-1, 3.13 ERA) vs. Kyle Davies, RHP (1-2, 4.56 ERA)
ATL Breakdown: Record- 9-12 (2nd place, NL East)
There's something I wish I saw more often. But for the past someteen years (i've tried to forget), the Braves have been atop the NL east. Sure, there was the strike-shortened year that finished with the Expos in first place, and, sure, they were in the NL West during part of that streak. Moreover, the division's other teams have won 2 titles during that span (Marlins in '97 and '03) compared with the Braves' one. But, then again, they've done it with this core that no one shuts up about. OOOOOOH Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, Walt Weiss! I'm sick of it. Really really sick. So apparently the Mets are going to Atlanta this week. I don't know what to expect from this team these days. Their only good hitter seems to be Andruw Jones, but he's carried them against the Mets. Their mediocre pitchers have blown the Mets to bits lately as have John Smoltz and Tim Hudson. But at this point in the season, the Braves have been far from spectacular. Their record dictates that as well as their underwhelming performance and the stat line that shows Pete Orr has played in 18 of their 21 games this year. There are other problems with the Braves including that Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones are both on the mend. I wish that I had statistics backing me up to suggest that they're headed for further collapse. Unfortunately, those statistics apparently don't exist yet.
Players to Watch for:
ATL: Andruw Jones. Give me one reason to believe that he won't beat the absolute snot out of the Mets this series. One reason.
NYM: Carlos Delgado. He's just dominated pitching this day, walloping a bunch of gopherballs while carrying the Mets lineup as a whole.
Player of the Series: Andruw Jones
Picks: The Mets will take one of three in the series, snagging Pedro's start but dropping Glavine's in a close one and Trachsel's in a blowout. But don't forget: the Mets can get swept and they'll stay in first place.
Sex can wait! Prognosticate:
For now, goodnight, goodseries, Let's Go Mets!