A look at the Mets-Braves rivalry

The Mets used to own the Braves. From 1975 to 1980, New York was 44-28 (.611) against Atlanta. And from 1984 to 1990, the Mets were even better, going 57-27 (.679) against the team they beat in the very first NLCS. But brother, things ain’t what they used to be.

They say a generation is about 20 years, which means we have an entire generation of people who have known only the Braves owning the Mets. From 1991 to 2012, the Braves hold the upper hand, as the Mets have a 139-202 (.408) record against them. In the last 22 years, only twice have the Mets won more games than the Braves – 2006 (11-7) and 1995 (8-5). Since 2001, when the two teams started meeting 18/19 times a year, the Mets have lost double digits to the Braves nine out of 12 years, including last year when they went 6-12 against Atlanta.

Since 1991, 13 SP for the Mets have made at least 75 starts for the team. Here’s how those pitchers have fared against the Braves:

Pitcher Record IP ER ERA
Al Leiter 9-8 154.2 45 2.62
Steve Trachsel 9-11 127.0 66 4.68
Tom Glavine 4-11 113.2 65 5.15
Oliver Perez 7-4 103.0 43 3.76
Bobby Jones 4-8 101.2 54 4.78
Rick Reed 5-5 91.0 24 2.37
Mike Pelfrey 4-9 86.0 54 5.65
Johan Santana 3-8 80.0 34 3.83
Jonathon Niese 6-3 72.2 24 2.97
Pedro Martinez 6-4 72.1 32 3.98
R.A. Dickey 2-5 61.2 32 4.67
John Maine 3-3 41.0 22 4.83
Dwight Gooden 2-4 39.0 21 4.85
Total 64-83 1143.2 516 4.06

The team’s best pitchers over the past 22 years have gone a combined 19 games under .500 against the Braves. So it’s not like Atlanta is just beating up on the dregs of New York’s pitching staffs. It’s especially alarming that the Braves have gone 5-13 versus Dickey and Santana. At least Niese has pitched well against the division rival.

Over the past two decades, the pitchers who have had the most success against the Braves have been lefties who can hit 90 mph. Leiter, Perez and Niese all had success against Atlanta, unlike fellow lefties Glavine and Santana who do not throw as hard.

In fact, hard throwers might be the key to beating Atlanta. Martinez won three of his five starts against the Braves and had a 1.95 ERA against Atlanta in 2005, when his velocity was at its highest for the Mets.

If this theory is true, bring on Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler so the current generation can know what it’s like to look forward to Atlanta coming up next on the schedule.

10 comments for “A look at the Mets-Braves rivalry

  1. Dan Stack
    November 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Now we have to worry about B.J. Upton. I guess this means Bourn is not coming back.

    • November 28, 2012 at 10:55 pm

      I dunno – in the last four years, Upton has a .242/.316/.420 line over 2509 PA. That’s not very good — certainly not $75 million worth. That’s a .736 OPS. Last year Lucas Duda had a .718 OPS and we were all disappointed. I know he adds value by being a good CF but I bet he’s not as good defensively as Bourn.

      Knowing the Braves’ luck, he’ll end up having a career year in 2013. But he’ll have to be better than he has been to be worth what they’re paying him.

      • Name
        November 29, 2012 at 12:57 am

        I’m sure glad we get to face Upton rather than Bourn many times during the year. He’s not someone that anyone should fear. He’s a .240 hitter who is walking less and less and striking out more and more, which is not worth the few extra HR he provides. Dickey should be salivating every time this guy comes up to the plate.

        Dunno what the Braves were thinking on this one. Not the guy you want to hand out your biggest Free Agent contract to. Were they scared of facing him on the Phillies?

  2. Dan Stack
    November 28, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Agree, I think the Braves messed this up.

  3. Name
    November 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    The Braves are just in stupidity mode right now. Tommy Hansen for Jordan Walden? Are you kidding me?

    • November 30, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      I think it’s a salary dump from the Braves POV. Hanson will likely make around $4 million and at this point in time with the condition of his shoulder — he’s just not worth the money. Especially when you have the young SP the Braves have.

      We all remember the fireballing Hanson from a few years ago but that guy no longer exists. Now, he’s a nibbler who struggles to hit 90.

      I like Walden and the Braves’ pen just keeps getting deeper. As if Kimbrel and Venters wasn’t enough…

      • Name
        November 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm

        It would be hard for me to call the Braves SP right now a strength.
        They have one established good starter(Hudson), one serviceable SP(Maholm), and the rest of their rotation is basically young unproven starters whose main asset is their hype.

        I know Medlen has that great finish last year, but he’s yet to make more than 17 starts at any level, so he’s a question mark.
        Minor had a good 2nd half as well, but he was absolutely horrendous in the 1st half. Also a big question mark.
        Beachy is a good pitcher, but he had TJ surgery in late June last year and probably would be ready to contribue in July without any setbacks.
        And then there’s Delgado/Teheren, their 2 “big name prospects” who both posted ERA north of 4 last year and neither were good in the minors last year either. 2013 could be the year the one of both put it together, but that’s a huge IF.

        If everything breaks right for the Braves, they could easily win 90 games, but they also have the potential to bust, and bust big. Unless the Braves knew there was something really wrong with Hanson, i still think it was stupid to trade him away, considering they are in Win-mode now. Instead of having 3 established starters, they are down to 2, and when more than 50% of your rotation is question mark, that does not bode well.

      • Name
        November 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm

        Oh, and i forgot to mention Walden is basically another Bobby Parnell. Someone who can throw hard, has good “stuff”, but can’t close. You wouldn’t do Parnell for Hanson in a heartbeat?

        • November 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

          Tommy Hanson’s average fastball velocity is down 3 mph from where it was two years ago.
          He had an ERA+ of 89 — worse than Chris Young
          He had a 1.454 WHIP – worse than any Mets SP who made more than 6 starts
          He did not go 7 or more IP in a start after July 7th
          After the AS break he was 3-5 with a 5.69 ERA and averaged less than 5.1 IP per start

          Basically I’m not interested in trading anything of value for a guy with shoulder problems, who doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, gives up a ton of baserunners, doesn’t go deep into games and is slated to earn more money than Niese.

  4. NormE
    November 30, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    It would seem that the Braves’ philosophy is to get thru 6 innings and let the bullpen and the bats do the rest.

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