The series finale between the Braves and Mets Wednesday night at Turner Field will pit two young arms against each other -- Atlanta's Julio Teheran and New York's Jacob deGrom -- as the Braves go for a three-game sweep.
The 23-year-old Teheran has a year of experience under his belt -- although he is younger than the rookie deGrom, who is 26 -- and has emerged as one of baseball's top pitchers this season. He is one of the Braves' top candidates to make the All-Star Game, which would be his first appearance.
Teheran ranks among the top 10 pitchers in the Majors in ERA (2.34), quality starts (15), WHIP (0.95) and batting average against (.210). He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 13 of his 17 starts, including his last outing on June 27, when he limited the Phillies to two runs (one earned) in seven innings.
On the Mets' side, deGrom has performed admirably since being called up in mid-May, posting a 3.62 ERA in nine starts and finally notching his first career win on June 21. But he is also one of the two Mets pitchers at risk of demotion, along with Daisuke Matsuzaka, when Dillon Gee comes back from the disabled list in mid-July.
That decision won't come quite yet, manager Terry Collins said Tuesday. When it does, the Mets will weigh several factors, including current performance, entire body of work and innings limits for deGrom, who is a rookie.
"When this determination's going to come about, who's going to be the guy, a lot of it's going to come from [general manager Sandy Alderson]," Collins said. "That's his job, to take a look at what the future plan is, what he's got in the planning stages, where we are innings-wise with certain guys. But I think in the perfect world, you've got to think, 'Hey look, if Jake's going to be a starter in 2015, he'd certainly be a guy you'd want to see if he can get through 2014.'"
Braves: La Stella leaves game with bruised foot
Braves rookie second baseman Tommy La Stella left Tuesday night's game with a right foot bruise. He is day to day. La Stella sustained the injury when he was hit by a pitch in the second inning, but he remained in the game until the end of the seventh inning.
Since making his Major League debut on May 28, La Stella has solved Atlanta's offensive woes at second base. He entered Tuesday night batting .282 (31-for-110) with six doubles, a triple, nine runs scored, 14 RBIs, 14 walks, 11 strikeouts and a .360 on-base percentage.
La Stella has also been clutch for a rookie, batting .360 (9-for-25) with two doubles, a triple, 14 RBIs, three walks, four strikeouts and a .414 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position.
"He's been able to keep the line moving," Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "That's the thing that we've kind of been missing. He's been able to keep the line moving whether it's a sac fly or a ground ball with the infield back to get an RBI. He's been able to keep the ball in play and move the line. He's pretty good. He knows what he's doing at the plate."
Mets: d'Arnaud heating up after talk with Triple-A coaches
The night Travis d'Arnaud arrived at Triple-A Las Vegas, his confidence shot, the catcher sat down in a room with Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, hitting coach George Greer and pitching coach Frank Viola. For two hours, the four of them tossed ideas back and forth, trying to determine the root cause of d'Arnaud's massive season-opening slump.
That night, d'Arnaud singled in his only plate appearance, before collecting two hits the next day and homering twice the day after that. His hot streak never ended, earning d'Arnaud a quick promotion back to the big leagues, where he entered Tuesday's play with a .348 average and .940 OPS in six games since his return.
That, along with Juan Lagares' slump, prompted Collins to flip those two in Tuesday's lineup, with d'Arnaud moving up to seventh. d'Arnaud traces all his success back to that meeting in Vegas, where Backman, Greer and Viola beseeched him to stop thinking about mechanics and start trusting his swing.
"It definitely eased my mind," d'Arnaud said.
d'Arnaud did have a somewhat tough game Tuesday, going 1-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts.
• Braves closer Craig Kimbrel recorded his 25th and 26th saves of the season on Monday and Tuesday, giving him four straight seasons of 25 or more saves to start his career. Kimbrel was already the first Braves reliever to reach the mark in his first three seasons.
• On Monday, the Mets allowed four runs to the Braves in the bottom of the eighth inning to lose the game. It was the 17th time a team has scored in its last at-bat to beat New York, the most such losses in the Majors this year.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.