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Up Next: Mets vs Atlanta Braves

After wrapping up a successful midwest swing the Mets return home for a three-game grudge match against the second place Braves.

Record

NL EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA Streak Last 10
NY Mets 63 48 .568 - 30-23 33-25 519 468 Won 1 6-4
Atlanta 59 53 .527 4.5 31-28 28-25 555 515 Won 2 5-5
Philadelphia 58 53 .523 5 29-23 29-30 606 561 Won 1 6-4
Florida 52 60 .464 11.5 26-32 26-28 541 579 Won 2 4-6
Washington 51 60 .459 12 30-29 21-31 439 520 Won 6 8-2
W L RS RA W1 L1 W2 L2 W3 L3
59. 53. 555 515 59.9 52.1 61.0 51.0 61.7 50.3

W1 and L1 are the expected wins and losses based on runs scored and runs allowed.
W2 and L2 are the expected wins and losses based on BP's equivalence runs scored and allowed.
W3 and L3 are similar to W2 and L2 but adjusted for strength of schedule.

The Braves are actually underperforming their expected won-loss record by a couple of games; they have 59 wins on the season compared with almost 62 expected based on their run diffential. Their odds of winning the NL East are just shy of 11%; their Wild Card odds are just under 21%.

Starting Rotation

Player W L ERA IP H/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 VORP
*John Smoltz 10 6 3.04 133.1 9.18 8.23 2.03 0.74 35.3
*Tim Hudson 12 5 2.95 158.2 8.11 5.56 2.10 0.23 48.2
Chuck James 9 8 3.84 126.2 9.24 6.39 3.77 1.42 25.9
Buddy Carlyle 6 3 4.20 70.2 8.79 5.86 2.04 1.27 10.7
Lance Cormier 0 2 15.58 8.2 17.65 5.19 8.31 7.27 (-9.3)

* asterisks denote probable starters vs Mets
() parentheses denote negative numbers
italics denote left-handed pitchers

Two aces, a serviceable lefty and back-of-the-rotation fodder make up the Braves' starting five. John Smoltz has been terrific as usual, and Tim Hudson has bounced back following a terrible 2006 to post some of the best numbers of his career. His strikeout rate is alarmingly low, but his walk and homerun rates are razor thin, great signs for a groundball pitcher.

WPA Top Two
Tim Hudson, 2.03 WPA
John Smoltz, 1.61 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Kyle Davies, -1.65 WPA
Mark Redman, -1.21 WPA

Starting Lineup

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG SB CS VORP NL Rank
Brian McCann* C 369 .268 .319 .455 0 0 16.6 2/32
Mark Teixeira# 1B 27 .261 .370 .739 0 0 3.4 16/27
Kelly Johnson* 2B 433 .301 .397 .497 9 4 34.5 2/29
Yunel Escobar SS 171 .331 .373 .414 3 2 8.4 10/29
Chipper Jones# 3B 396 .334 .429 .582 5 1 48.2 2/28
Matt Diaz LF 259 .347 .376 .490 3 0 19.9 10/31
Andruw Jones CF 472 .217 .316 .426 5 1 6.8 11/30
Jeff Francoeur RF 484 .304 .349 .450 2 2 18.0 5/29

* asterisks denote left-handed batters
# pound signs denote switch-hitters
rankings are based on VORP for players with at least 100 PA

Five regulars batting over .300 (it would be six if Edgar Renteria weren't on the disabled list). The same number have on-base percentages of .349 or higher, and four (plus Renteria) are in the Top 5 among National Leaguers at their respective positions. Andruw Jones has been terrible and Yunel Escobar is still an unknown quantity, but with the recent addition of Mark Teixeira the Braves lineup is awfully formidable from top-to-bottom.

WPA Top Two
Yunel Escobar, 1.93 WPA
Chipper Jones, 1.85 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Andruw Jones, -1.16 WPA
Scott Thorman, -0.98 WPA

Bullpen

Player ERA IP H/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 VORP
Bob Wickman 3.89 39.1 9.38 7.55 3.66 0.69 5.8
Rafael Soriano 3.81 49.2 6.52 7.97 2.17 1.63 8.4
Octavio Dotel 10.80 3.1 10.80 10.80 2.70 2.70 (-2.9)
Oscar Villarreal 3.69 63.1 7.96 7.96 3.27 0.71 10.9
Tyler Yates 4.91 47.2 8.12 9.06 4.72 0.57 (-2.0)
Ron Mahay 2.25 4.0 6.75 6.75 4.50 0.00 0.5
Peter Moylan 1.94 60.1 6.27 6.27 3.28 0.60 18.1
Joey Devine 2.25 4.0 11.25 9.00 4.50 0.00 1.5

John Schuerholz made a concerted effort to fortify his bullpen last offseason and for all of his work Peter Moylan has been his best reliever by far. Rafael Soriano and Bob Wickman have been decent but nothing spectacular at the back of the 'pen. Oscar Villareal has been serviceable, but former Met Tyler Yates has been awful. Tradeline acquisition Octavio Dotel, another former Met, should help down the stretch.

WPA Top Two
Peter Moylan, 2.38 WPA
Rafael Soriano, 1.35 WPA

WPA Bottom Two
Steve Colyer, -0.54 WPA
Wil Ledezma, -0.42 WPA

Bench

Player Pos PA AVG OBP SLG SB CS VORP
Corky Miller Bench1 6 .333 .333 .500 0 0 0.5
Scott Thorman Bench2 276 .217 .258 .395 1 1 (-7.5)
Chris Woodward Bench3 122 .214 .246 .304 1 0 (-5.8)
Willie Harris Bench4 263 .328 .397 .447 16 9 15.6

Willie Harris has been terrific in a part-time role, but there isn't a lot of room for him in the Atlanta outfield right now. Matt Diaz and Frenchy are both having fine seasons at the plate, and Andruw Jones is a staple in centerfield despite barely cracking replacement level offense. The rest of the bench is utterly replaceable (Chris Woodward? Meet Damion Easley).

Manager

Strategy # Times NL Rank
Pinch Hit 196 2/16
Stolen Base Attempts 78 10/16
Sacrifice Bunts 36 15/16

Bobby Cox uses a lot of pinch hitters but he very rarely employs the sacrfice bunt.

Key Injuries

Mike Gonzalez
Anthony Lerew
Edgar Renteria

A couple of pretty key injuries here. Mike Gonzalez was acquired prior to the season from the Pirates in exchange for Adam LaRoche. He had a 1.59 ERA in 17.0 innings but is lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery at the beginning of June. Edgar Renteria is on the shelf for at least two weeks with a high right ankle sprain.

Payroll

Team Payroll MLB Rank
$89,492,685 13/30