(Sports Network) - With a playoff berth already in the fold, the Atlanta
Braves still have their sights set on winning the National League East.
A favorable schedule could get the Braves where they want to be.
Atlanta will open a three-game series versus the New York Mets tonight at
Turner Field and sits four games behind the Washington Nationals for the
division lead with six to play.
The Braves have won five in a row and 10 of 12, and completed a three-game
sweep of the Miami Marlins with Thursday's 6-2 victory behind starter Tommy
Hanson and a strong bullpen. Hanson allowed two runs -- one earned -- and six
hits in 5 1/3 innings for the win, while Luis Avilan, Jonny Venters and
Cristhian Martinez held the Marlins scoreless the rest of the way.
Dan Uggla went 2-for-4 with a double and three RBI, and Andrelton Simmons
recorded two hits, an RBI and a run scored.
"It definitely feels good to get a couple of runs and drive in a few and get
some knocks," said Uggla. "Like I said about three weeks, a month ago, I'm
back, I'm not searching for (my swing). It's me and I'm going to keep doing
what I can do from here on out."
Braves center Michael Bourn is anticipating a return soon and an MRI on his
left thumb revealed a slight sprain. Bourn hasn't played since last Saturday
and is batting .274 with nine homers and 56 RBI.
"Once the swelling has gone out of it, it has felt better," Bourn said. "They
just did not want me to rush back out there and have any setbacks."
In what could be his final start before the playoffs, Tim Hudson takes the
mound for the Braves tonight and has been riding a hot streak since July. In
his last 15 starts, Hudson is 10-2 with a 3.39 earned run average and posted
his second win in a row in Sunday's 2-1 decision at Philadelphia.
Hudson allowed one unearned run and two hits in 7 1/3 innings, pushing his
season numbers to 16-6 in 27 starts with a 3.61 earned run average. The
veteran right-hander, who is 8-4 in 14 home starts, did not record a decision
against the Mets back on July 13, when he was tagged for four runs and eight
hits in four innings of a 7-5 win.
He is 15-9 with a 3.59 ERA in 26 career starts against the Mets.
New York would enjoy nothing more than to spoil Atlanta's chances of moving
closer to a division title and has won two straight and six of seven games.
The Mets took a four-game set from Pittsburgh and are coming off Thursday's
6-5 win in which David Wright and Ike Davis both homered. R.A. Dickey won his
20th game of the season, struck out 13 batters and allowed three runs in 7 2/3
innings of work.
"To win 20 games is difficult. It's been a real grind," Dickey said. "It's a
Dickey's 222 strikeouts are the most in a single season for the Mets since
David Cone struck out 214 in 1992. He matched Frank Viola (20 in 1990) for the
most wins in a season for the Mets and is one behind Washington's Gio Gonzalez
for the major league lead.
Bobby Parnell got the final two outs of the game for his fifth save.
New York also will visit Miami for three games on its season-ending six-game
Jon Niese has won back-to-back starts since losing three straight outings and
will toe the rubber again tonight for the Mets. Niese defeated Miami his
previous time out last Friday in a 7-3 victory and allowed three runs in 6 1/3
innings of work.
Niese is 12-9 in 29 starts with a 3.49 ERA and 2-1 in three starts versus the
Braves this season. In 11 career matchups -- all starts -- with Atlanta, the
left-handed Niese is 5-3 with a 3.15 ERA.
The Mets are only 5-10 against the Braves this season and 1-5 at Turner Field.
Atlanta has won 10 of the previous 11 meetings between the NL East foes.
The Sports Network