(SportsNetwork.com) – Who needs a full-time catcher anyway?
While the red-hot Atlanta Braves would certainly like to have Evan Gattis back in the fold, they’ll continue to soldier on without him while entertaining the New York Mets on Tuesday night in the middle game of a three-game series at Turner Field.
The first-year starter will be shuttled to the disabled list with a back injury while sharing the team lead with 16 home runs, but the Braves have nonetheless managed five straight wins after opening the series with a victory on Monday.
“We were never giving up, never giving any at-bats away,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s the perfect example of putting the ball in play.”
They’ll try to continue the streak in game two against veteran Daisuke Matsuzaka for the Mets.
Meanwhile, the Braves go with lefty Mike Minor, who’s winless in his last four starts with a 7.36 earned run average — most recently a 6-1 defeat at Houston in which he was dinged for five runs in six innings on Thursday.
He’s allowed 1.5 home runs per nine innings, the 10th-highest ratio in the majors among pitchers who’d made 10 starts. When he last faced the Mets in June 2013, Minor allowed three homers in six innings of a 4-3 loss.
Matsuzaka has been little better recently, including a six-inning stint against Pittsburgh on Thursday in which he allowed five runs on five hits and four walks.
He’s pitched at Turner Field once and was a 13-5 loser in September after allowing six runs in three innings. In three career starts against Atlanta, he’s won just once while toting an ugly 9.00 ERA.
On Monday, Freddie Freeman walked three times and finished with two RBI in the Braves’ 5-3 win.
Alex Wood struck out seven and gave up three runs in six innings for the Braves. Anthony Varvaro (3-1) recorded the win for a scoreless eighth and Craig Kimbrel tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to nail down his 25th save.
The Mets led 3-1 through seven innings but Atlanta’s offense came alive in the bottom of the eighth against Jeurys Familia (1-3), who was plagued by three New York errors in the inning.