The Atlanta Braves' beat-up starting outfield is scheduled to get back Jason Heyward, which could be perfect timing given his success against New York Mets starter Dillon Gee.
Heyward likely will return from a six-game absence and try to help Atlanta avoid a fourth defeat in five games Monday night at Citi Field.
A right hamstring strain has kept Heyward out of the lineup while B.J. Upton remains on the disabled list with a right adductor strain, causing manager Fredi Gonzalez to get creative with his outfield.
Gonzalez said Heyward, who normally plays right field, would play center until Upton returns. Justin Upton, normally in left, has been playing right.
"I just wanted to make sure my legs were 100 percent before I can go out there and attempt to (play), so having this extra day is great for me," Heyward said. "(Monday) we'll see where we're at, but I think I'm ready to go."
The NL East-leading Braves (55-43) have dropped four of six without Heyward, including Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Evan Gattis, starting in left, drove in the team's only run, but center fielder Reed Johnson was robbed of what would have been a game-tying homer in the eighth.
Brian McCann also was robbed of a potential run-scoring hit earlier in the game.
Heyward is 8 for 19 with a homer off Gee (7-7, 4.32), who should be looking forward to his first home start in 2 1/2 weeks.
The right-hander has posted a 2.83 ERA at home compared to a 5.46 mark on the road, though he ended his first half by giving up one unearned run in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-2 win at Pittsburgh on July 14.
Gee's worst home start came May 25, when he gave up five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 6-0 loss to the Braves, falling to 1-3 with a 4.50 ERA in his career at home against Atlanta.
He carried a 1-0 lead into the ninth inning June 17 at Turner Field, but allowed a walk-off two-run homer to Freddie Freeman.
The Mets (43-51) hope this contest ends with a more favorable result after beating Philadelphia 5-0 on Sunday for their third victory in four tries. David Wright and Marlon Byrd hit back-to-back homers in the first, and Juan Lagares added a three-run shot in the fourth.
New York scored 18 runs while taking two of three from the Phillies, and will look to continue its hot hitting against Braves starter Julio Teheran, who is in a bit of a slump.
Teheran (7-5, 3.35) has allowed 12 runs - nine earned - while pitching fewer than six full innings twice over his last three starts, most recently surrendering five runs in 5 1-3 innings of an 8-4 loss to Cincinnati on July 14. He had pitched at least six frames in each of his previous 10 outings while posting a 2.28 ERA.
The right-hander was solid in his first start against the Mets, giving up one run in 6 2-3 innings before New York rallied for a 4-2 win May 26.
These teams have split the first 10 meetings of the season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved