Atlanta Braves vs. New York Mets Preview and Pick – Derek Lowe vs. Johan Santana

Atlanta Braves (15-16) Derek Lowe +185, 7 O/U at New York Mets
(17-13) Johan Santana -195, 7 O/U, Citi Field, Oakland, N.Y.,
7:10 PM EST, Monday

by Badger of

With only four games in Major League Baseball tonight there will
surely be plenty of action on and attention focused at Citi Field in
New York, as it hosts Mondays marquee pitching matchup of Mets ace
Johan Santana against rival Atlanta Braves ace Derek Lowe.

The Mets are the hottest team in baseball right now as they are
winners of seven straight and 8 of their last 10 games, including a
two-game series sweep of the Braves a week ago for wins one and two
of the current streak. The Mets followed that with sweeps of
Philadelphia (2 games) and Pittsburgh over the weekend, outscoring
both teams by a 43-to-13 margin.

The Braves have played good baseball since that two-game hiccup
against the Mets as well, sweeping a two-game set with Florida before
winning two-of-three over the weekend against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Oddsmaker Sportsbook has installed the Mets in their usual favorites role when Santana is on the bump, listed at -195 at and other
sportsbooks that offer dimelines. Other offshore sportsbooks can have
Santana as high as -210. The Braves and Lowe are an incredible value
as a rare underdog, listed at +185 to +170 depending where you go.
The over/under total is listed at 7.

The extra attention on a New York game is justified tonight because
both Santana and Lowe have been worthy of the ace moniker this season.

Santana is just 4-1 in his six starts, but hes been absolutely
filthy with a matching 0.91 ERA and 0.91 WHIP and 54 strikeouts in
just 39.2 innings. Last time out he allowed just two hits and three
walks with 10 Ks in seven innings of a 1-0 victory over the Phillies.

Santana has yet to beat the Braves in his career, spanning five
starts, with an 0-3 record and a 2.76 ERA.

Lowe is also 4-1 on the season, but hes made seven starts and the
Braves are 5-2 in those games. Lowe gave up a season-high six runs
last time out, but the Braves still won the game 8-6 over the
Marlins, which may explain why the odds are so heavily in favor of
Santana in this matchup.

It also doesnt help that Lowe has only faced the Mets twice, and the
last time he did when he was a Dodger when he gave up nine runs and
10 hits in three lackluster innings of a 13-9 Mets victory.

Lowe will have to deal with a Mets lineup thats collectively getting
hot at the same time, scoring 6.1 runs per game during the seven-game
streak (5.03 season average). An overlooked facet to the Mets
offensive attack is their running game, ranked 3rd in MLB with 27,
which can often provide the difference in tight games and pitcher duels.

Just for perspective, Atlanta is dead-last in steals with only six as
a team, so dont expect Santana to have to worry about throwing over.
The good news is that Atlanta has been scoring runs lately, notching
12 in the two-game sweep of Florida and adding 14 more in the three-
game set in Philly. Casey Kotchman is hot, and is also 3-for-5
lifetime against Santana, so tonights game isnt going to be
automatic for Santana and the Mets.

Atlanta had their struggles at old Shea Stadium, going 2-6 in their
last eight games there, but the Braves have yet to play in new Citi

Badgers Pick: This one should be a dandy. Lowes sinker should be heavy in the cool weather tonight. Santana will be Santana, so Im
laying the -125 on the under of 7. Take the under of 7.