Braves-Mets Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated May 23, 2013
The surging Atlanta Braves have thrived at home, but haven't enjoyed the same success on the road. Fortunately for them, the slumping New York Mets haven't held much of a home-field advantage. Seeking a seventh straight win, the Braves look for their momentum to carry over to the road when they face a Mets team hoping to avoid a seventh consecutive home loss Friday night. One day after hitting a pinch-hit game-tying homer in the ninth inning of a 5-4, 10-inning victory, Evan Gattis connected on a grand slam Wednesday as Atlanta (28-18) beat Minnesota 8-3 to sweep a six-game homestand. Ramiro Pena and B.J. Upton also went deep for the Braves, who enter this three-game set having outscored opponents 34-16 during their run. "I love this team," said Gattis, who, despite not playing every day, ranks second on the team with 10 homers and 27 RBIs. "All of our pitchers, relievers, everybody in the whole lineup, we all contribute, we've all got roles, we've all got things we do to help this team. It's a good feeling right now in the clubhouse. We're playing good baseball." Keeping things going could prove difficult on the road, where Atlanta has dropped 13 of 19 following a 7-0 start. The Braves are hitting .152 with runners in scoring position during a 1-5 slump in opposing ballparks. "You go on long road trips, they can wear on you," Upton told MLB's official website. "It's definitely good to sweep the homestand, so hopefully we can take that to the road." While things haven't gone Atlanta's way as the visiting club, the Mets (17-27) can't seem to get it together at home. Coming off a three-game sweep at the hands of Cincinnati, New York has dropped 11 of 13 at Citi Field - including its last six by a 36-14 margin. The Mets, who lost nine in a row at home last season, saw their woes continue in Wednesday's 7-4 loss, going 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position. Ike Davis went 0 for 2 with two walks and made a costly defensive mistake that led to the Reds' go ahead-run in a three-run ninth inning. "There are certain guys that you root extra hard for, and Ike's at the top of that list," teammate David Wright said of Davis, who's mired in a 1-for-38 slump. "He's done everything he can to help his team. It's tough to watch." Things aren't about to get any easier for Davis, who's two for his last 10 against Kris Medlen (1-5, 3.02 ERA). The right-hander takes the hill looking to lead the Braves to a 14th win in 17 matchups versus New York. Medlen, who has the majors' second-lowest run support average at 2.38, allowed one unearned run and two hits over seven innings but didn't factor in the decision of Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. "Medlen was outstanding," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "You saw seven innings of him being the Medlen of last year." Medlen, who is 0-4 over his last seven outings, compiled a 1.47 ERA in winning all three of his starts versus New York in 2012. Besides Davis, Medlen has made things tough on Wright and Daniel Murphy, who are a combined 4 for 30 against him. The Mets counter with Jeremy Hefner (0-5, 5.00), who allowed four runs in as many innings during Saturday's 8-2 road loss to the Chicago Cubs. New York has lost all eight of the righty's starts this year. In his only start versus Atlanta, Hefner was tagged for five runs and eight hits over 2 2-3 innings during an 11-3 defeat Sept. 8.
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