After taking two of three from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Braves head up farther north to Citi Field for a three-game set against the New York Mets. The Mets struggled mightily finishing out July after the All-Star break, going 4-14 the rest of the month before turning things around in August. They've already won just as many games so far in August, entering the series at 4-4 for the month.
As a team, the Mets rank fifth in the National League in batting average (.258), fifth in on-base average (.327), 10th in on-base average (.398), eighth in wOBA (.315), and fourth in wRC+ (98).
Individually, David Wright is of course the leader of the team with the bat. On the year, he's sporting a triple slash line of .327/.419/.539 with a 13.8% walk percentage, 16.3% strikeout percentage, .401 wOBA, and 157 wRC+.
It's been a rough 2012 for Ike Davis, as he dealt with valley fever then has struggled for the most part of the season at the plate. Overall, he's hitting .213/.278/.425 with a 8.2% walk percentage, 25.6% strikeout percentage, .299 wOBA, and 87wRC+.
Lead-off man Ruben Tejada sits at .321/.370/.391 with a 6.3% walk percentage, 16.4% strikeout percentage, .333 wOBA, and 111 wRC+. Daniel Murphy is hitting well, sporting a line of .302/.346/.428 with a 6.2% walk percentage, 12% strikeout percentage, .334 wOBA, and 112 wRC+.
Mets manager Terry Collins has a solid platoon working in right field, as Mike Baxter hits against righties while Scott Hairston gets his cuts against lefties. In 83 plate appearances, Baxter is hitting right-handers at a .324/.434/.515 clip. Overall, he has a 15.2% walk percentage and a 21.2% strikeout percentage.
Hairston against lefties is hitting .304/.338/.585 in 142 plate appearances with a 4.9% walk percentage and a 17.6% strikeout percentage.
Center fielder Andres Torres has one of those fun lines that features an on-base average higher than the slugging percentage. He enters at .242/.356/.346 with a 14.3% walk percentage, 19.9% strikeout percentage, .317 wOBA, and 100 wRC+.
Jason Bay has been just miserable, hitting .156/.247/.281 with a .242 wOBA and a 49 (!!!!!) wRC+, while Jordany Valdespin is at .252/.284/.474.
Josh Thole has been below average with zero power, hitting just .264/.321/.325 with a 7.4% walk percentage, 13.2% strikeout percentage, .284 wOBA, and wRC+ of 78.
Pitching matchups after the jump.
Friday August 10, 7:10 PM ET
#17 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jun 25, 1982
#33 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Mar 27, 1989
Atlanta gets its first look at young right-hander Matt Harvey in his Citi Field debut. The hard throwing rookie enters at 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA, 3.14 FIP, and 2.90 xFIP. In his three starts, he has a strikeout percentage of 32.4% and a walk percentage of 9.9%, so it's clear that his stuff can miss bats at the major league level. The issue for him has been going deep into ballgames, as he's averaging less than six innings per start in the majors.
In terms of his arsenal, he throws a four-seam fastball, slider, curve ball, and a change. He has thrown his four-seam over 60% of the time, averaging almost 95 miles per hour with it and can touch a little higher. The slider is his main off-speed weapon, throwing it over 17% of the time at an average velocity of over 86 miles per hour. The pitch has a whiff rate of almost 17% on it. His best swing and miss offering is the change, as it sports a whiff rate of almost 25% although he throws it only 13.3% of the time.
Harvey struggled in his last outing, as he gave up eight hits and five runs, including two home runs, to the San Diego Padres.
Saturday August 11th, 7:10 PM ET
#54 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Oct 07, 1985
#57 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Mar 13, 1979
Fresh off the disabled list after a sprained ankle, Santana returns on Saturday to face off against the Braves. On the year, he is 6-7 with a 3.98 ERA, 3.98 FIP, and 3.97 xFIP. Santana has a strikeout percentage of over 22% to go along with a walk percentage just over 8%.
In terms of stuff, Santana features a four-seam, two-seam, change, and slider. His four-seam averages just over 89 miles per hour, and he throws it 46% of the time. His two-seam is about the same velocity, at just over 86 and a half miles per hour and features great arm side run as we all know.
The change is his best off-speed offering, and has the best whiff rate of any of pitches at almost 22%. He throws the pitch 22% of the time as well. Santana uses the slider 19% of the time, and throws it at an average of approximately 80 miles per hour.
Sunday August 12th, 8:10 PM ET (Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN)
#30 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves
Jul 18, 1978
#49 / Pitcher / New York Mets
Oct 27, 1986
In the series finale, Niese takes on Ben Sheets on Sunday Night Baseball. So far in 2012, the left-hander is 8-6 with a 3.82 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and 3.60 xFIP. He has has a strikeout percentage of 20.5% to go along with a 6.4% walk percentage. Niese is a ground-ball pitcher, sporting a ground-ball rate of basically 48%.
He throws a four-seam, two-seam, cutter, curve, and occasional change. All three variety's of fastballs are about the same velocity, with the four-seam averaging just over 91 and the other two slightly below that. He's increased the amount of usage of the cutter, from 17% last year to 28% this year.
Niese's curve is a big, slow breaker that averages just over 74 miles per hour velocity wise. It's his best swing and miss pitch, but that doesn't really say much. None of his stuff misses a bunch of bats overall.