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Taking Solace in the Early Season Woes

Another day, another one-run loss. We are now 5-11 in one-run games, and we have now slipped a ridiculous nine games out of first, six games under .500. It not only seems like all of our games have been close ones, it is actually true, with 26 of the 31 games we've played being decided by three runs or less. Chipper Jones lays out how the Braves are not getting it done to win games:

"You've got to learn how to win late," Chipper Jones said after the Braves blew another seventh-inning lead and came up just short in Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Mets.

"You've got to learn how to come through with the big hits," Jones added. "You've got to learn how to make the big pitch, make the big play in the field. All those things, we're just not doing them, plain and simple."

But even with all the early season woes, don't slip into the world of the fair-weathered fan just yet. Let's take a look at the average record of the teams both the Braves and the Mets have played. The Braves have been playing tough teams with winning records, and they have been playing them more on the road than at home, with three long road trips already this season. The Braves opponents have an average record of 15.5 wins verses 15 losses. The Mets, who have only had two road trips, have played opponents with an average record of 12 wins verses 18.3 losses.

That trend is about to change as the Braves head out to play sub-.500 teams like Florida, Washington, Chicago, and LA, with only Arizona and San Diego at or above .500 to fill out the rest of the games for the month of May. The Mets on the other hand begin a long set of games against teams above .500 for the rest of the month. They head to Philadelphia, Milwaukee, St. Louis, the Yankees, and Arizona, who are all above .500 with only Florida as the only team not contending.

Add that to the fact that the Mets have lost starting pitcher Victor Zambrano for the entire year after he tore his flexor tendon in the second inning of Saturday's game. Another Mets starter who was having a good start to the year is Brian Bannister, who is out with a strained hammy, and the spot starter who was supposed to go Sunday, John Maine, came down with an injured finger. This is the Achilles heel of this Mets team - lack of depth, especially at starting pitching.

So despite a shaky outing from Tim Hudson on Saturday afternoon, and an aborted comeback attempt which lead to another close loss, the Braves have to believe that they are close to turning things around. And if they can play hard and win some series against their upcoming sub-.500 opponents, then they can make up some ground on the Mets.

Atlanta 5, N.Y. Mets 6 at Shea Stadium
Atlanta Record: (12-18)
N.Y. Mets Record: (21-9)

Winning pitcher - Bartolome Fortunato (1-0)
Losing pitcher - Tim Hudson (2-3)
SV - Jorge Julio (1)

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