By: Stache Staff

Atlanta Braves (64-47) @ New York Mets (54-58)

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This certainly seems like the absolute last chance for the Mets to make any noise in 2012. Sitting 15 games out of the division, and 9.5 out of the Wild Card race, they take on the leader in that department, the Atlanta Braves at home.

It could be a longshot calling this series a decision maker for the Mets, but a sweep for New York would be unbelievably timely. But either way right now, 2012 could be called the “Hrm, Could Be Worse” season.

Playing at home has been no picnic for the Mets of late. We’ve seen their record at Citi plummet to 27-28. The dimensions excuse has been nullified, but seems like it should just go back down to basics. Get some wins.

Matt Harvey will head up a series that could ultimately result in some final placement for the Mets in 2012, unless the Braves play choke artist again down the stretch. Just so long as the Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies stay where they are in the rear-view mirror for the Mets.

Lineups

New York Mets
1) Andres Torres CF
2) Ruben Tejada SS
3) David Wright 3B
4) Scott Hairston RF
5) Daniel Murphy 1B
6) Ronny Cedeno 2B
7) Jason Bay LF
8 ) Rob Johnson C
9) Matt Harvey RHP
Atlanta Braves
1) Michael Bourn CF
2) Martin Prado LF
3) Jason Heyward RF
4) Chipper Jones 3B
5) Freddie Freeman 1B
6) Dan Uggla 2B
7) David Ross C
8 ) Paul Janish SS
9) Paul Maholm LHP

Matchup

NYM: Matt Harvey (1-2, 3.86 ERA) Through his first three starts, we’ve seen the good and the bad from Matt Harvey. Obviously we saw that wondrous 11-K first start of his young career. His second start was also of excellent quality. Last Friday was the issue, as the San Diego Padres got the better of him. The command of his fastball that was so well-displayed in his first start has since diminished. But at least we know it exists, and if he comes out feeling good, you can expect a fantastic strikeout rate. In about 16 innings, he’s fanned 23. Whether you were for or against his call-up, it certainly adds a new level of interest to the 2012 season to be able to see this kid pitch every fifth day.

ATL: Paul Maholm (9-7, 3.75 ERA) At 30, Maholm’s career has begun to stabilize. He’s wild at times and he hits a lot of batters, but he is a reliable lefty arm. He hasn’t won in three career starts at Citi Field. Before that, he had a good handle on the New York Mets. He’s coming off his first start as a Brave. He went seven innings, collected the quality start, but couldn’t hang on long enough to win the contest. He won’t dazzle with overpowering stuff, but the biggest weakness on his part is that he isn’t a clutch stopper when it comes to facing left-handed hitting. Lefties are batting .296 against him. That must be music to the ears for the Mets.

Stache Keys to the Game

  1. Harvey possess the command. We’ve seen it. He’ll need to get comfortable early so he can settle in and bring the juice thereafter.
  2. Who will the star be tonight? Last night it was Andres Torres. Ruben Tejada is batting two tonight, I bet he factors into this game somehow.
  3. With just one lefty in the lineup, we could see some key bench movement later in the game.

Slated for a 7:10 PM ET start, catch the game live on SNY and WFAN 660.

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