The Atlanta Braves look to continue building momentum while the visiting New York Mets will try to stop a brief slide when the division rivals meet again Friday.
The four-game series will mark the second time the National League East foes have played this season and will be their only series in Atlanta. The clubs met in a three-game set to open the season, with the Braves winning the last two games at Citi Field.
Atlanta opened the home portion of its schedule with a two-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and Thursday. The Mets dropped two straight to the visiting Boston Red Sox before starting their current six-game road trip.
The series opener features New York right-hander Rick Porcello (0-1, 27.00 ERA) against Atlanta lefty Sean Newcomb (0-0, 2.70) in a rematch of the third game of the season, which Atlanta won 14-1.
Porcello only lasted two innings in that contest, his debut with the Mets, and it resulted in his shortest start since retiring only one man against the New York Yankees on June 29, 2019. Porcello allowed seven runs, six earned, on seven hits and three walks with one strikeout. It was the ninth time he allowed at least six runs in a start since the beginning of last season.
“It was a terrible performance,” Porcello said. “Two innings and seven runs does not do anything for our team or for anybody.”
A win would be the 150th for Porcello and would make him the 10th active pitcher to reach that milestone. It would move him into a tie for ninth with David Price among active pitchers.
In five career starts against Atlanta, Porcello is 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA. He is 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA in two previous starts in Atlanta.
Newcomb worked primarily out of the bullpen for the Braves last year, but he won a spot in the youthful rotation with a solid summer camp. He worked only 3 1/3 innings in his first start against New York but allowed one run on three hits, two walks and one strikeout.
His command wasn’t great — Newcomb threw only 42 of 82 pitches for strikes — but it was good enough to warrant another start.
“We need to keep running our young guys out there and let them figure it out,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said.
Newcomb has appeared in 14 career games, eight of them starts, against New York, going 3-3 with a 3.25 ERA.
Former Atlanta All-Star Mike Foltynewicz, who was designated for assignment on Monday, cleared waivers and was outrighted to the alternate training site. The Braves were alarmed at his loss of velocity, which dropped from the mid-90s to the high 80s.
“With everybody needing pitching, I didn’t know if somebody would come in and take a chance,” Snitker said. “Remembering how he had thrown in the past, I thought somebody would come in and take a crack at him.”
Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson has hit safely in the first seven games and is batting .370. Swanson added an RBI single in Thursday’s win and has a team-leading nine RBIs.
New York right fielder Michael Conforto had his five-game hitting streak end on Thursday, but third baseman Jeff McNeil went 2-for-4 and is batting .438 (7-for-16) over the past four games.
–Field Level Media