Braves-Mets Preview

The Atlanta Braves boast two players with the longest active

hitting streaks in the majors and a starting pitcher who has

excelled over the past six weeks. All that, however, hasn’t helped

them win consistently of late.

With help from Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman, the Braves’ Tim

Hudson will try to earn his sixth win in seven decisions Friday

night against the slumping New York Mets.

Uggla’s 25-game hit streak is the fourth-longest in franchise

history and Freeman is climbing up that list with an 18-game run.

Atlanta, though, is 10-10 since the All-Star break and seen its

wild-card lead shrink to 2 1/2 games over Arizona.

The Braves (64-48) avoided getting swept by last-place

Washington when they opened a nine-game road trip earlier this

week. Uggla hit a key three-run homer and Freeman drove in a pair

of runs to help their team hold on for a 6-4 victory Wednesday.

Uggla is hitting .354 (34 for 96) with 11 homers and 23 RBIs

during his career-best streak, while Freeman is batting .411 (30

for 73) during his.

“(Uggla) and Freeman are both hot as firecrackers,” manager

Fredi Gonzalez said.

The duo will try to add to those runs while backing Hudson

(10-7, 3.31 ERA), who is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA in his last eight

starts. Hudson bounced back from the only loss over that stretch –

July 25 against Pittsburgh – by giving up one run over seven

innings in a 5-1 victory over Florida on Saturday.

“I’ve been feeling good physically,” Hudson told the Braves’

official website. “That’s the key for any pitcher, is to physically

feel like you’re able to go out there and do what you want to

do.”

The right-hander might get even more support if Chipper Jones

returns from a strained right quad, which has limited him to

pinch-hit duties since July 25.

Hudson might need all the help he can get as he’s 0-2 with a

7.88 ERA in two outings against the Mets (55-55) this season, but

he’ll face a lineup that’s produced eight runs during its four

straight defeats.

Hudson allowed five runs over four innings in a 6-4 defeat at

Citi Field on June 5 and gave up three runs in four rain-shortened

frames during a 4-0 home loss June 15.

R.A. Dickey (5-9, 3.77) gave up one run over eight innings to

earn the victory in the June 5 matchup, but the knuckleballer

enters this start with two wins in his last 10 outings.

Dickey earned one of those wins in Cincinnati on July 25 but

lost 3-0 to Washington on Saturday, giving up three runs over six

innings. He has thrown at least six innings in 17 of his 22

starts.

“There’s no question R.A. has deserved to win more games than he

has,” manager Terry Collins told his team’s official website.

Dickey is 1-2 with a 4.11 ERA in five career starts against the

Braves. He didn’t receive a decision after giving up six runs over

four innings during a 9-8 loss June 16.

The right-hander, though, has proved successful against

Atlanta’s two hottest hitters. Uggla is 0 for 15 and Freeman is 1

for 5.

Uggla is a career .223 hitter versus New York and is batting

.147 in nine meetings this season. Freeman is hitting .364 in his

seven matchups.