What to look for: Braves vs. Mets, 7:10 PM

Citi Field 1 slice

The Mets will look to wipe the slate clean as they start a three-game series with the Braves on Monday Night at 7:10 PM at Citi Field.

BaronHere is tonight’s starting lineup for New York:

Curtis Granderson – RF
Daniel Murphy – 3B
Yoenis Cespedes – CF
Lucas Duda – 1B
Travis d’Arnaud – C
Kelly Johnson- 2B
Michael Conforto – LF
Wilmer Flores – SS
Jonathon Niese – LHP

Here is tonight’s pitching matchup:

Jon Niese (8-10, 4.31 ERA) will start for the Mets.

Shelby Miller (5-15, 3.00 ERA) will start for the Braves.

Mets vs BravesHere is what I am looking for tonight from the Mets:

A fresh start.

The Mets open a stretch of ten consecutive games against second-division clubs on Monday, beginning with three games against the Braves, a team the Mets wiped out in Atlanta just last weekend.

But that was the last time the Mets really played with any sort of consistency, as they are 2-4 since their dramatic comeback win over the Braves last Sunday.

And they’ve lost some of their lead in the division as a result.

This is an opportunity to not only rack up some much needed wins, but also just wrap up the National League East altogether. If the final three games of the season against Washington are going to be nothing more than an exhibition as they hope, then it would behoove the Mets to start winning consistently again and taking advantage of this very favorable schedule.

What’s it going to be, Jon Niese?

This was probably not the time either Niese or the Mets needed a slump, but Niese is indeed in one of those funks. He pitched pretty well against the Braves in his last start eight days ago, however, so perhaps he is showing necessary signs of coming out of this skid he’s been on for over a month.

If it is, it couldn’t come at a better time since the starting pitching has struggled for the most part during the last six weeks.

His arm slot was inconsistent last Sunday which, believe it or not, was a sign of progress from his previous start against Washington. He was able to get over the top of his cutter and two-seamer more which helped him keep the ball down. That must continue on Monday if he’s going to contribute towards getting the Mets on the right track again.

No more slumbering for the bats.

The Mets offense has been nothing short of abysmal on this homestand, having scored just 14 runs in six games over the last week. It was bound to regress a little bit after the awesome display the Mets were putting up on a regular basis, but they’re not taking quality at-bats now, swinging at a lot of pitches outside the zone and are unable to fight off pitches inside the zone and attack them at that.

Miller isn’t a cakewalk, as he’s pitched a ton better than his line would indicate. Still, this is a game the Mets have an opportunity to break out in, and they’re going to have to if they intend to get going in the right direction again.

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