MLB Betting Odds: Braves travel to face Mets

By: Jimmy Sirody | Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tommy Hanson

The Braves are 4-8 in Tommy Hanson’s 12 starts since the All-Star break.

The Great Rule of Baseball remains: Momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher. And that’s why the Atlanta Braves, who led the National League East by three games at the beginning of the month, find themselves looking up at the Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta has lost 10 of its last 15 after dropping two of three to the lowly Washington Nationals at Turner Field, the team’s first home series loss since April. Only three of those wins have gone to a starting pitcher. The bullpen has done a great job putting out fires; it’s the starters who haven’t pulled their weight.

The Braves are banking on Tommy Hanson (9-11, 3.54) to reverse that curse when they open a three-city, nine game road trip Friday night in New York.

Atlanta has no choice but to improve on its 31-41 road record if it is going to make the playoffs. The Braves have won only two of six road series since the All-Star break and they’ve lost their last three road series to the Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies.

Atlanta has won seven of 10 against the Mets. The teams last met at Citi Field just before the break and the Braves took two of three.

The Braves took Thursday off after playing 20 games in 20 days while the Mets were completing a series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. New York has put together a three-game winning streak against the bungling Buccos, its longest hot spell since a seven-game binge in June.

Hanson, after a pair of ugly outings to end August, has bounced back in his three September appearances, allowing 10 hits and posting a 1.80 ERA over 20 innings pitched. He began the month with a home win over the Mets in which the right-hander allowed nary a run and one hit in seven innings.

New York has hit just .182 against Hanson in 73 plate appearances and it’s yet to touch him for a home run. But while he sports a 1.82 ERA against the Mets this season, he’s gone just 1-1.

Lefty Jonathan Niese was 1-2 with an 8.27 ERA in his three previous starts before last Sunday’s strong effort against the Phillies when he allowed three runs in seven innings.

Niese has faced the Braves four times in his career and overall he’s got a 3.57 ERA and 24 K’s in 22 2/3 innings. However, he faced Atlanta at Turner Field at the end of August and was torched for eight runs (three earned) on 10 hits over 4 2/3 frames.

The Braves have dropped seven of their last nine on the road, five of seven against division rivals and four of five against southpaws. They have also come up short in seven of nine versus a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30. Atlanta has cashed eight of 11 when Hanson pitches with five days rest.

New York has flunked nine of 13 tests with Niese on the mound, including four straight at Citi Field.

The last eight series skirmishes in the Big Apple have ended on the low side and the division rivals have dipped ‘under’ the baseball betting tally in 14 of the past 17 clashes overall.

The Braves have dived ‘under’ at a 5-0-2 clip on the highway following a day off and in seven of their last eight against NL-East foes. The Mets have topped the ‘total’ in seven of Niese’s last 10 outings.

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