Take note: the Braves and Mets are jostling for position atop the NL East, as both squads are unquestionably among the top five in baseball. This is all occurring despite Andruw Jones' .170 average and Carlos Delgado's whopping total of three extra base hits. One might say that those superstars are bigger busts than A-Rod has been this year. Erm, wait... he's on pace for, what, 115 HR and 300 RBI. Well, he's still not clutch.
This series is actually pretty pivotal: it can determine who's in first place at the crucial April 22nd benchmark, and if your team's down by April 22nd, forget it. Tank so you can snag Oden or Durant in the first round.
Color me still totally unimpressed by this Braves team. Sure, their pitching is better than last year, but I'm just not accustomed to the Mets losing to the Braves from my years of Mets fandom. Their offense hasn't really clicked yet, either: maybe the Mets have Ramon Castro outhomering Delgado and Wright combined, but Ryan Langerhans is hiting .074 in 27 AB, and Scott Thorman isn't much better, at a .207 clip.
Let's get Atlanta: the Rangers vaporized the Thrashers' scum (see Holik, Bobby) and now the Mets have a chance to keep Larry and Andruw Jones in check, all the while enjoying the beautiful weather and admiring Rick Peterson's jacket. I'm ready: hopefully Aaron Sele (right; facial hair added for dramatic effect) is too.
Why Sele? Well, I will point you to the below probables, featuring certainly unsure things in Oliver Perez and Mike Pelfrey. I'd be shocked if they went a combined 5 innings. I'll be watching the TBS feed just so I can see the Braves announcers mangle the name Ambiorix, and then do a commercial for something involving logs or pesticides. I think that might be the primary focus in Atlanta, or maybe that and Lil' Jon.
Game 1: Tim Hudson, RHP (2-0, 0.86 ERA) at Mike Pelfrey, RHP (0-0, 3.18 ERA)
7:10 p.m., National TV: TBS
- Even ignoring the fact that Pelf-master looked shaky (BUT RESILIENT) against the Nationals, this game is still ridiculous. That is a 0.86 ERA. I would call this the must-miss game of the series, though don't fret. Given all the TV news coverage of this terrible national story, you might be able to get quality analysis of major news in there: the elimination of Sanjaya from American Idol. I'll take Hudson and the over.
Game 2: Chuck James, LHP (2-1, 2.25 ERA) at Oliver Perez, LHP (1-1, 3.72 ERA)
- Despite my best instincts, I'm not going to enitrely doubt Perez here: it's certainly been a while since we've seen him, and one would hope he found the strike zone in that period. Chuck James is always going to be tough, but I see D-Wright's first homer in this game and Moises Alou getting like 8 singles into centerfield: you know how he does. Mets win in a nailbiter.
Game 3: John Smoltz, RHP (2-1, 3.12 ERA) at Tom Glavine, LHP (3-1, 2.70 ERA)
1:10 p.m., National TV: TBS
- Maybe a rematch I wasn't totally intent on seeing, given the outcome of the first clash of the titans. Larry and Andruw will always have Glavine's number, and I don't like him against Francoeur or Matt Dye-Az. But you know what? John Smoltz sucks it. Hard. I'll take Glavine, with foolhardiness as my justification.
Players to Watch
NYM: Carlos Beltran. He's hitting .500 with a pair of jacks in his last 20 AB, and take a look at his .349/.429/.581 career line against Hudson (in over 40 AB). Don't forget that grand slam he hit off Chuck James when the Mets laid the Braves to rest in the Ted last July.
ATL: Matt Diaz. Call me crazy, and I don't have much justification for this either, but I just have a feeling he'll go off against this Mets troika. If he doesn't do anything, the Braves still have Brian McCann to kick some ass. I'm generally frightened.
Series prediction: Mets 2, Braves 1.
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