Mets vs. Braves Preview: Game #115 — Jonathon Niese vs. Ben Sheets

Aug 7, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (49) pitches during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Today's game notes, courtesy of @Mets.

Teams: Mets vs. Braves
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2012 • 8:05 p.m
Location: Citi Field • Flushing, NY
Starters: RHP Ben Sheets (4-1, 1.41) vs. LHP Jonathon Niese (8-6, 3.82)
TV/Radio: ESPN • WFAN • WQBU
Info: Game #115 • Home Game #58

Lineup

Ruben Tejada - SS
Mike Baxter - RF
David Wright - 3B
Ike Davis - 1B
Daniel Murphy - 2B
Jordany Valdespin - LF
Andres Torres - CF
Rob Johnson - C
Jon Niese - LHP

METS AT A GLANCE: The Mets have lost 11 of their last 12 home games...New York is a season-low six games under .500 at 54-60 ...Overall, New York has lost six of its eight games...New York is 4-6 in its last 10 games...The Mets are 8-20 since the All-Star break...The Mets are 1-7-1 in nine series in the second half.

AT HOME: The Mets are 27-30 at home this year...Daniel Murphy ranks seventh in the majors with a .350 batting average at home ...The Mets have lost five home series in a row…They last won a series at home on July 3-5, when they took two of three from Philadelphia.

METS VS. NL EAST: The Mets began the year 13-5 against the National League East but are 7-19 over its last 26 games vs. the division.

VS. ATLANTA: New York opened the season 4-0 vs. Atlanta...The Mets have gone 0-7 since vs. the Braves...The Mets were swept in a three-game series at Atlanta to open the second-half, July 13-15...The last time the Mets were swept by the Braves in a three-game series in New York was September 17-19, 2010.

TRAILING AFTER ONE: The Mets dropped to 7-22 when they trail after the first inning…The Braves took a 2-0 lead into the second inning last night…In comparison, the Mets are 25-2 if they lead after one.

SUNDAY: Ruben Tejada ranks fourth in the majors with a .404 (19-47) batting average on Sundays (min. 40 at-bats).

DANIEL MURPHY: Has the fourth-highest batting average (.360, 50-139) in the majors since June 27 (min. 128 plate appearances)...He is tied for the most doubles (15) during that span...Murphy has scored 19 runs, collected two triples, four home runs and has 21 in these 38 games during that span...Overall, Murphy is tied for seventh in the majors with 33 doubles...His career-high was 38 doubles in 2010.

RUBEN TEJADA: Has collected at least one hit in 15 of his last 16 games...He is hitting .352 (25-71) over these 16 games...Overall, Tejada’s .321 batting average is the highest among all major league shortstops (min. 280 at-bats) and his .368 on-base percentage is the highest among all major league shortstops.

DAVID WRIGHT: Ranks third in the majors with a .415 on-base percentage, seventh with a .324 batting average and is tied for seventh with 33 doubles...Wright is tied for sixth in the National League with 74 RBI and is 10th with 68 runs scored...He is tied for fourth in the NL with 51 extra-base hits and sixth with a .323 batting average against right-handers.

MILESTONE NOTE: David Wright is one RBI shy of 800 for his career...He already owns the franchise record for RBI...Darryl Strawberry is second with 733 RBI...Wright is also one home run from becoming the third player in franchise history to reach the 200 home run plateau...Darryl Strawberry (252) and Mike Piazza (220) are the others.

ANDRES TORRES: Has two triples in his last three games and is tied for 10th in the NL with five triples...Torres is hitting .300 (27-90) with a .368 on-base percentage since July 1.

STARTERS/RELIEVERS: Mets starters rank eighth in the majors with a 3.95 ERA...New York’s bullpen has the second-worst ERA (4.89) in the majors.

JONATHON NIESE: Tossed 6.0 innings, his 12th consecutive start of at least 6.0 innings in his last outing on Tuesday vs. Miami…Niese has gone 5-4 with a 3.32 ERA (30 earned runs/81.1 innings) over this stretch.

JON RAUCH: Tossed a scoreless inning last night...Rauch has allowed one run over his last 17 appearances, spanning 12.2 innings (0.71 ERA) dating back to June 28...Rauch has yielded five hits, issued two walks and notched six strikeouts during that stretch.

RISP: The Mets went 2-5 with runners in scoring position last night and are 12-61 (.197) over their last eight games...The Mets are hitting .260 with RISP on the season, ranking 11th in the majors ...The Mets are hitting .277 with runners in scoring position and two outs, the highest average in the majors.

TWO-OUTS: The Mets have scored 19 of their last 27 runs with two outs...New York leads the majors with 226 two-out runs this year...New York is hitting .268 with two outs, the third-highest average in the majors ...New York’s pitching staff has surrendered 207 runs with two outs, the fourth-most in the majors.

HOME RUNS: The Mets have surrendered eight home runs so far on their current homestand (five games), including six that are “new” Citi Field home runs or that would not have cleared the fences last season ...Overall, the Mets have hit 14 “new” Citi Field home runs and allowed 19...New York has hit 97 home runs this season, which is tied for 26th in the majors...The Mets have allowed 114 home runs, which is tied for 15th in the majors.

CITI FIELD HOME RUN STREAK: There has been at least one home run hit by the Mets or their opponent in each of the last 23 games at Citi Field (20 by the Mets, 34 by the visitors)...That’s the second-longest such streak in this ballpark’s four-year history...There were home runs hit in 25 consecutive games here in 2009 (July 30–September 18)...Only two other Citi Field home run streaks reached double-figures: 13 games in 2011 and 10 games in 2010...Research courtesy of the Elias Sports Bureau.

ESPN SUNDAY NIGHT BASEBALL: The Mets are 1-2 on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball Game of the Week this year and since 2000, the Mets are 23-25.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: The broadway cast of Peter and the Starcatcher, winner of five Tony Awards, will perform tonight’s National Anthem.

LAST START: Received a loss when the Mets fell to the Marlins, 4-2, at Citi Field on August 7...Pitched 6.0 innings and allowed four runs, earned, eight hits, and one walk...Struck out four in the 96- pitch outing.

NORMAL REST: Niese will pitch on normal rest tonight against the Braves...In nine starts on regular rest (four days) this season, Niese is 3-4 with a 6.15 ERA (36 earned runs/52.2 innings)....Conversely, in 13 starts with extra rest this season (five days or more), he is 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA (22 earned runs/84.0 innings pitched)

HOME RUNS: Niese has given up a home run in five of his last seven starts, dating to July 3...Has given up 18 home runs this season, and has posted a HR/9 of 1.19, the 12th-highest mark in the NL...Allowed a career-high 20 home runs in 2010.

WALKS: Had not walked a batter in 25.1 innings, a career-long streak that dated from the fifth inning on June 3, four starts ago, to the 2nd inning on July 27...Has allowed 11 walks in his last 12 starts, a span of 81.1 innings pitched, dating to June 3...Has walked more than one twice in those 12 starts...Prior to this stretch, Niese had allowed 18 base-on-balls over a six-start stretch (29.2 innings pitched) from May 1 to May 28...Niese’s 25.1 innings without a walk marks the longest streak by a Mets pitcher since 2011, when Mike Pelfrey went 25.0 innings without a base-on-balls from June 2-24.

RARE COMPANY: Niese has issued four walks in his last six starts and became the seventh pitcher in Mets history to throw at least 7.0 innings and not walk a batter in three consecutive starts (July 8-27) in one season...The last major league pitcher to do that was Cliff Lee, who did it in four straight starts in June, 2010.

INNINGS PITCHED: Since June 10, Niese has pitched 79.1 innings, spanning 11 starts, the eighth-most in the NL over that time...Has thrown at least 7.0 innings in eight of his last 11 starts.

RECENT SUCCESS: In his previous 14 starts dating to May 23, Niese is 6-4 with a 3.35 ERA (35 earned runs/94.0 innings pitched)...Has a 7.37 K/9 mark and nine quality starts over that stretch... Has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 15 of his 22 starts this season...Finished the month of July with a 4.63 ERA (18 earned runs/35.0 innings pitched).

SUCCESS VS. LEFTIES: Niese has held left-handed hitters to a .239 batting average (21-88) this season, with one home run and five walks...Conversely, Niese has allowed 17 home runs and 31 walks to right-handers...Niese held lefties to a .259 average and .357 slugging percentage during the 2011 season… Allowed only 10 extra-base hits (two home runs and eight doubles) to left-handed batters last season, which was tied for 10th-fewest in the National League.

DAY/NIGHT SPLITS: In 10 starts during the day this season, Niese is 4-1 with a 2.85 ERA (21 earned runs/66.1 innings)...In 12 night starts, the left-hander is 4-5 with a 4.73 ERA (37 earned runs/70.1 innings)...Niese has allowed 13 of his 18 home runs this season during night games..For his career, Niese has compiled a 13-9 record with a 3.65 ERA (77 earned runs/190.0 innings pitched) during the day in 32 starts, compared to his 17-18 mark with a 4.59 ERA (162 earned runs/317.1 innings pitched) at night in 54 starts.

CAREER-HIGH STRIKEOUTS: On June 3 vs St. Louis, Niese established a new career-high in strikeouts with 10...His previous high was eight, done four times previous, most recently on June 9, 2011 at Milwaukee...He is the third Mets starter this season to record at least one game with double-digit strikeouts...Over his last 12 starts dating to May 28, Niese has struck out 73 in 88.0 innings.

CONTRACT EXTENSION: Niese signed a five-year contract extension on April 7, which includes two club options that could keep him with the team through 2018.

LAST WIN VS. THE BRAVES: Won, 7-5 at Citi Field on April 8... Pitched 5.2 innings and allowed four runs, three earned, two hits, and four walks... Struck out seven.

LAST LOSS VS. THE BRAVES: Lost, 4-6, at Citi Field on September 17, 2010... Pitched 4.0 innings and allowed six runs, zero earned, five hits, one home run,and three walks...Struck out four.

CAREER VS. THE BRAVES: In nine career games, all starts, Niese is 4-2 with a 3.66 ERA (21 earned runs/51.2 innings pitched).

KEY MATCHUPS:

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