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Atlanta Braves (11-5) at New York Mets (8-8)
Saturday, April 19 - 7:10 PM EST
Citi Field, New York City, New York
The sample size is small considering Bartolo Colon has pitched 414 games since making his major-league debut in 1997, but the New York Mets right-hander has handled the Atlanta Braves. Colon takes the mound Saturday when the Mets host Atlanta in the second game of a weekend set, bringing a 4-0 career record with a 1.20 ERA in four starts against the Braves. Atlanta counters with Ervin Santana, who has emerged as a linchpin of the Braves’ revamped rotation with dominant outings in his first two appearances.
An encouraging sign for Atlanta – which scored six runs in Friday’s series-opening shutout victory – is the recent play of center fielder B.J. Upton, who is hitting .320 with five runs scored, four walks and three stolen bases in his past six games. The Braves are off to another flying start, winning 11 of their first 16 games after starting last season 12-1. David Wright kept the Mets from being no-hit in Friday, recording a single with two outs in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to nine games.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, FSN South (Atlanta), WPIX (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Braves RH Ervin Santana (1-0, 0.64 ERA) vs. Mets RH Bartolo Colon (1-2, 6.00)
It would be difficult for Santana to pitch any better in his first two efforts in an Atlanta uniform, and a bullpen meltdown Monday at Philadelphia is the only reason he is not 2-0. Still, Santana has allowed seven hits and one earned run in 14 innings, walking two and striking out 17. The 31-year-old has posted a 0.64 WHIP and is averaging 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
Colon dominated the Braves in Atlanta’s home opener April 8, firing seven shutout innings with six hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts. But he was pounded by the Angels on Sunday, surrendering nine earned runs on 11 hits – including four homers – in five innings. The 40-year-old, who is 10 victories shy of 200 for his career, makes his third career start at Citi Field, where he is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA.
1. Santana and Colon were teammates with the Angels from 2005-07, combining to win 63 games (Santana 35, Colon 28).
2. Wright is hitting .308 during his hitting streak after hitting .192 in his first seven games.
3. Atlanta 3B Chris Johnson finished 3-for-4 on Friday, his third three-hit effort in his past six games.
PREDICTION: Braves 4, Mets 2