Fox News - Fair & Balanced

Sports


National League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 17th (All times Eastern)

New York Mets (7-3) at Atlanta Braves (5-5), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Johan Santana (0-1, 0.90) Atlanta - Randall Delgado (1-0, 3.60)

(Sports Network) - Given how things have gone for the Mets over the past few seasons, their 7-3 start can be categorized as a surprise. No team has been shocked more by New York's turnaround than the Atlanta Braves.

The Mets look to remain undefeated against the Braves this season and get Johan Santana his first victory since 2010 as the National League East rivals play the middle contest of a three-game series at Turner Field.

New York hasn't finished above fourth place in the division since 2008 and did very little to upgrade this offseason other than get Santana back from a shoulder injury that caused him to miss all of 2011. However, four games against the Braves -- and four wins in that span -- have helped New York get off to a 7-3 start, its best since 2007.

The Mets began the season by sweeping the Braves in three games at home, then stretched their overall winning streak in this series to five in a row with last night's 6-1 victory. New York has outscored Atlanta 18-8 so far this season and have left Braves second baseman Dan Uggla impressed so far.

"If they stay healthy, they have a lineup that can hit," Uggla said following last night's loss. "They've got pitchers that are going to give them a chance. Their bullpen has been pretty solid so far. I never once thought they looked like a pushover or anything like that and they haven't been."

Dillon Gee certainly pushed Atlanta's lineup around, holding the Braves to just a run on four hits over seven innings of work.

"Anytime you give up one run against the Braves it's a nice outing," Gee said.

Ike Davis clubbed his second home run in as many games but is still batting just .139 on the season. The Mets hope his three-run shot off Atlanta starter Tommy Hanson will be the spark the first baseman needs.

Hanson was tagged for five runs -- four earned -- on five hits in seven frames. He was the hard-luck loser in the Braves' 1-0 setback on Opening Day.

Tha loss was part of Atlanta's 0-4 start, but the club had rebounded with five straight wins prior to last night's loss.

Santana will try to cool off the Braves again tonight and earn his first victory since he beat Atlanta on Sept. 2, 2010. He is 3-6 with a 2.14 earned run average in 13 career meetings with the club.

The 33-year-old lefty has made a solid return from injury so far, hurling five scoreless innings in his season debut on April 5, getting a no-decision against the Braves despite giving up just two hits and a pair of walks with five strikeouts.

With a lengthier pitch count, Santana took a hard-luck loss versus the Nationals on Wednesday, logging 99 pitches and yielding just one run with eight strikeouts in a 4-0 defeat.

The Braves counter with 22-year-old Randall Delgado, who is set to make his second start of the season and ninth of his career.

The right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.83 ERA in seven starts last year, then opened his 2012 campaign with a win over the Astros on Wednesday. Delgado allowed two runs over five innings with six strikeouts.

"I thought he gave us everything we were looking for," said Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez about his starter. "He hadn't pitched in over a week so we didn't want to leave him out there all night, but he did his job great."

Delgado will face the Mets for the first time.

04/17 10:48:30 ET