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Back at the Ted

Here at Crosstown Rivals, the virtue we value most is that of foresight. Accordingly, put your hands together in welcoming the second season of Crosstown Rivals' Series Previews Enjoy.

Well, the Mets are a pretty good club. That suspect starting pitching did a pretty good job against the defending World Series Champions, tossing twenty innings of two-run ball while the Mets' bats did the rest. Pardon the gloating, given that the bat of Game 2 was being swung by Orlando Hernandez.

Nevertheless, the Mets are hardly fortunate enough to play all their games against St. Louis. Enter the 3-0 Atlanta Braves, who no longer have a streak of division titles on the line. However, the CrosstownOracle has the Braves finishing second to the Mets in the NL East, given that scary bullpen of theirs.

No longer is tubby Bob Wickman left to fend for himself in the pen, as Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano have joined him back there. And they still have Chad Paronto. CHAD friggin' PARONTO. Shield your children.

Still, the Braves had one hell of a lineup last year, wiith Andruw Jones and Adam LaRoche (now in Pittsburgh) bashing homers and John Smoltz bashing heretics who didn't listen to his post-game speech on "Faith Day" about how Jesus saved his life.

Don't forget about Brian McCann and Edgar Renteria, who are hitting .500 and .467 respectively this year, small sample sizes be damned. Moreover, they have Chris Woodward, whose inspiring heroics last year on the Mets made him a surefire candidate for a new contract. Ugh. Tim Hudson is ripe for a comeback this year, and if he can rebound a little bit, he'll be ten times the player Tyler Hansbrough was against Georgetown.

Maybe some of their moves haven't been such successes. Kelly Johnson, their new second baseman, is setting the world on fire with his .081/.188/.286 line to this point in the season. Andruw Jones didn't hit much in the opening series, and questions abound about their Canuck lefty, Scott Thorman, at first base.

The Games

Game 1: Oliver Perez, LHP (0-0, NO ERA) at Mark Redman, LHP (0-0, NO ERA)
7:35 p.m., National TV: TBS
  • You have to give the edge here to Ollie. I like what he did during the spring and Mark Redman is, uh, I don't know, Mark Redman.

    Game 2: Tom Glavine, LHP (1-0, 1.50) at John Smoltz, RHP (0-0, 4.50)
    3:55 p.m., National TV: FOX
  • This'll be a good one, but I have to say that Smoltz usually has the Mets' number. The Braves win and New York's bid for 162-0 stops here.

    Game 3: Orlando Hernandez, RHP (1-0, 1.29) at Kyle Davies, RHP (0-0, NO ERA)
    1:05 p.m., National TV: TBS
  • I like Duque against a young team like Atlanta. His funky curveballs and zany sliders will guide the Mets to a series victory against the iffy Davies.

    Players to Watch
    NYM: Carlos Delgado. He hasn't done much to date, so I'm waiting for a breakout. He'll have a monster series, despite the lefty starter on Friday night. Mind you, he's a .375/.583/.625 hitter against Redman in an admittedly small sample size. He's also got a .346/.414/.808 line against Smoltz.

    ATL: Andruw Jones. He has a monster .371/.476/.771 line against Glavine in his career and is primed to start mashing. Remember, he has always hit better in the first half of the season than in the second, and it's his free agent year. So be afraid.

    Series prediction: Mets 2, Braves 1.

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