Jair Jurrjens was named the NL’s top pitcher for May. He may be
the best in baseball all season, and the New York Mets are well
aware of it.
Jurrjens looks to gain a share of baseball’s lead in victories
as the Atlanta Braves face the Mets in the middle game of this
series Saturday night.
Jurrjens (7-1, 1.51 ERA) was outstanding last month, going 5-1
with a 1.65 ERA. He won his last two starts while allowing one run
and 12 hits in 15 2-3 innings.
The right-hander leads the majors in ERA, and a victory Saturday
would tie him with Pittsburgh’s Kevin Correia for the most in the
majors. Fellow seven-game winners Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo and
Kyle Lohse of St. Louis are also scheduled to make starts.
Jurrjens had seven victories all of last season when injuries
limited him to 20 starts. He started this year on the disabled list
with an oblique injury, but matched that win total Sunday, yielding
one run in eight innings of a 2-1 win over Cincinnati.
He’s the fourth pitcher to allow two or fewer earned runs and
pitch at least six innings in each of his first nine starts of a
season, joining Randy Johnson (2000), Lefty Gomez (1937) and Ubaldo
Jimenez, who set the record last year when he did it in his first
“It’s an honor,” Jurrjens told the team’s official website.
“It’s not easy to be a starting pitcher in this league.”
Jurrjens is 8-2 with a 2.54 ERA in 11 starts versus the Mets
(26-31). He turned in a dominant effort against the NL East rivals
in his season debut April 16, scattering two hits in seven innings
of a 4-0 victory.
His last appearance at Citi Field wasn’t quite as enjoyable, as
he suffered a torn meniscus during a side session Sept. 17, and the
Braves (31-26) lost him for the playoffs.
“It’s going to be awkward going out there to warm up,” Jurrjens
said. “Things happen for a reason.”
Atlanta has enjoyed visiting the Mets, winning four in a row and
13 of 19 at Citi Field after Friday’s 6-3 victory.
New York’s last six home losses all have come in games in which
they led in the seventh inning, setting a major league record.
“They’re aware of exactly what’s going on,” manager Terry
Collins said. “They talked about it.”
The Mets have won just four times in 13 games, and Dillon Gee
(5-0, 3.83) has two of them. All seven of the rookie right-hander’s
starts have ended in New York victories, including a 3-2 win over
Atlanta on April 17, when Gee conceded one run in 5 2-3
He won a third consecutive start Monday, allowing three runs and
five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 7-3 win over
“He’s the best I’ve been around for a guy that young at this
level,” Collins told the team’s official website. “Nothing bothered
him, and he just keeps pitching. He gets the ball back and he keeps
Gee was charged with a 4-2 loss in his only home start against
the Braves on Sept. 18, giving up three runs in seven innings.
Atlanta may not have Jordan Schafer available after he was hit
in the face with a foul tip on an attempted bunt to leadoff the
fifth Friday. He fell to the ground holding his face before being
examined by trainers and transported to a hospital for X-rays.