Armed with a 10-game winning streak, one would think New York Mets All-Star R.A. Dickey is in prime position to stretch his career-high victory string this afternoon, but the Atlanta Braves have been tough on the knuckleball specialist.
Dickey has been superb since his lone loss of the season on April 18 at Turner Field. He's gone 14 straight starts without a defeat and is coming off a no- decision against the Phillies on July 5 when he allowed a career-high tying 11 hits along with five runs. The Mets won that game, 6-5, in walk-off fashion.
Dickey, who tossed a scoreless sixth inning on Tuesday in the National League's 8-0 win in the 83rd All-Star Game in Kansas City, has just a 2-5 mark with a 4.83 ERA in 12 career games (9 starts) against the Braves. That includes an 0-2 ledger with a 6.92 ERA (20 earned runs in 26 innings) at Turner Field.
In that June 18 start, Dickey was shelled for eight hits and eight runs in 4 1/3 innings of a 14-6 loss.
Atlanta righty Tommy Hanson has also been on a roll, compiling a 5-1 record over his last seven starts. His last outing was a victory at Philadelphia on July 7 when he tossed seven strong innings. A win today would equal a career- best for a single season. He also won 11 in 2009 and last year.
Hanson has hit some rough patches when facing the Mets, as evidenced by a 3-5 record to go with a 3.71 ERA in nine starts.
The Braves, who enter today four games behind Washington in the NL East, took the opener of this series last night, 7-5.
David Ross smoked a three-run home run and finished with four RBI. Chipper Jones clubbed a solo home run and extended his hitting streak to 14 games for the Braves, who have won five straight. Dan Uggla and Jason Heyward also knocked in runs in the victory.
"We haven't played them much this year," Ross said of facing the Mets. "They never give away at-bats, they're tough outs, they grind at-bats, they're really a good team. We took advantage of their pitching mistakes. It was nice that our bullpen came in to pick up Huddy (starter Tim Hudson)."
Ross was filling in for Brian McCann, who is on paternity leave.
Cristhian Martinez (4-1) earned the win with an inning of scoreless relief behind Hudson, who allowed four runs on eight hits and two walks with three strikeouts over just four-plus innings.
Chris Young (2-3) absorbed the loss after allowing five runs on six hits and three walks over three full frames for New York.
"I had trouble finding my rhythm early," Young said. "You're going to have nights like that over the course of the season. I needed to do a better job of limiting the damage. If I had done so, I think we could have won the game. I dug us in too big of a hole."
Kirk Nieuwenhuis ripped a two-run single and David Wright finished with a pair of hits for the Mets, who have lost three of their last four games.
New York has won four of seven meetings with Atlanta this season.