Terry Collins blew up after Wednesday's loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. After three innings Thursday, a 7-0 deficit to the Pittsburgh Pirates, it almost looked like he'd be sending the same message. Instead, the New York Mets came back -- erasing a seven-run deficit for the first time in almost 11 years to defeat the Pirates 9-8.
Friday begins a new test for the Amazin's: the Atlanta Braves. With a 31-26 record, the Braves may not seem like one of the better teams in the National League, but they certainly have the ability. Inconsistency lately, 6-4 in their past 10 games, has dropped them into third place -- 3.5 games behind -- in the NL East. Pitching has been the constant for them this year, but they've struggled to score runs, ranking 21st in runs, 22nd in AVG, 22nd in OBP and 20th in SLG.
The Mets may get somewhat of a break Friday night as they'll face the pitcher with the highest ERA (not counting Mike Minor or Julio Teheran who have gotten to fill in for Brandon Beachy on the DL). Lowe comes into the game with a 4.03 ERA and is coming off his worst start of the year, a 3 1/3 outing in which he gave up five earned runs against the Cincinnati Reds.
Jon Niese has really settled down this season after a rough start. He has a respectable 3.92 ERA and 1.43 WHIP and is coming off a start against the Philadelphia Phillies in which he gave up one run (not earned) in 6 1/3 innings while fanning six. With Jason Heyward on the DL, Chipper Jones always battling injuries and Dan Uggla struggling with a .175 AVG, Niese needs to take advantage of the less-than-optimal lineup for the Braves right now.
New York won two of the three games between these two teams played in mid-April.