MLB Baseball Preview - Atlanta Braves at New York Mets (-145, 8.5) 7:00 PM EST
Sitting 4-1/2 games back in the N.L. East standings, the Braves will try to cut into the division lead when the team open a three-game set tonight at Shea.
At the trade deadline, the Braves added slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira, who has three homers and seven RBIs in five games since being obtained from Texas, as well as hard-throwing reliever Octavio Dotel, who's made four appearances since coming over from Kansas City.
The Mets, however, had problems with the Braves before Atlanta added Teixeira and Dotel, as they're 3-6 against them this season.
One Mets player who hasn't had any trouble against the Braves this season, though, is tonight’s starter Oliver Perez, who has all of his team's wins versus Atlanta in 2007.
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in three starts against the Braves this year. He faced them most recently May 23 and pitched seven innings of four-hit ball in New York's 3-0 victory at Turner Field.
Perez is 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA in four starts since the break, although he had mixed results in his last outing.
The left-hander struck out a season-high 11, but surrendered five runs - four earned - along with three walks in six innings of the Mets' 8-5 win over the Brewers on Wednesday.
Perez settled down after a rocky start and gave up just two hits after the second inning.
The Mets are coming off a 4-2 road trip, capped by Tom Glavine's 300th victory in an 8-3 win over the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
The Braves kept pace in the finale of a six-game homestand, winning their second straight Sunday, 6-5 over Colorado. Yunel Escobar, filling in at shortstop for the injured Edgar Renteria, hit a one-out single in the 10th inning to score Jeff Francouer and send Atlanta in the Mets series confident it can close the gap.
Right-hander Buddy Carlyle (6-3, 4.20) is expected to start for Atlanta despite leaving after five innings Wednesday when he hyperextended his right elbow while batting on a swing and miss.
Carlyle allowed two runs and five hits in a 12-3 win over Houston. Carlyle, 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA in seven starts since June 26, has never faced the Mets.
The Mets are a -145 favorite at sportsbook.com and are backed by a powerful trend regarding Perez’ performance against teams prone to striking out: PEREZ is 31-11 (+23.1 Units) against the money line vs. teams whose hitters strike out 7 or more times/game since 1997. (Team's Record)
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