Sunday, April 12, 2015

Unbeaten Braves go for sweep of Mets

Almost universally expected to finish near the bottom of the National League East, particularly after trading closer Craig Kimbrel to the Padres a day before their opener, the Braves are instead off to one of the best starts in franchise history (5-0). They'll look to make it even better Sunday versus a Mets team hoping to escape with a 3-3 record on their season-opening road trip. Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon will face Braves lefty Alex Wood in the Turner Field matinee.
Things to know about this game
• No Braves team started off hotter than the 1982 club, which opened the year 13-0 en route to an NL West title. The next-best Atlanta start came from the 1994 team, which began 7-0 and was in second place when a strike ended the season.
• Though Colon spent time this weekend encouraging rookie teammate Rafael Montero to throw fewer fastballs, he doesn't exactly practice what he preaches. Reinventing himself as a control artist late in his career, Colon threw 82.6 percent fastballs last season, the highest rate of any qualified pitcher in baseball. On Opening Day, only nine of his 86 pitches were offspeed.
• Look for John Mayberry Jr., who homered off left-hander Eric Stults in Friday night's game, to make his way back into New York's starting lineup. Mets manager Terry Collins has already said that lefty slugger Lucas Duda will play in the series finale, making outfielder Curtis Granderson a prime candidate to open the day on the bench. Collins is looking for ways to start Mayberry every time the Mets face a lefty.

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