Atlanta's Minor will look to build upon a solid 12-strikeout performance against the Cubs, while New York's Niese will attempt to forget a nightmarish five-run sixth against the Marlins in his previous outing.
Through just three career Major League starts, Minor has posted a 4.00 ERA and a 2-0 record. The 22-year-old first- round Draft pick has reached the six-inning plateau in each of his outings this season. After briefly being optioned to the Gulf Coast League to create a temporary roster spot for reliever Craig Kimbrel, the well-rested southpaw will work on eight days' rest.
Apart from two rocky starts in August -- seven runs allowed against both the D-backs and Marlins -- Niese has been more than serviceable for the Mets. Discounting the two hiccups, Niese has spotted a 1.38 ERA over his other four performances, boasting a respectable 3.63 ERA on the year.
Both pitchers will enter Tuesday hurling with something on the line. For the Braves, a little breathing room atop the tight National League East. For the Mets, to keep a fading playoff berth from dissolving completely.
"We've got to win a lot of [games], I'll put it that way," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "We've got to win a lot of them. We've got to do it quick. I guess the fortunate thing is that at least in our division, we'll be facing two teams that are ahead of us and we have some games against them. We've got to do it quick."
If Niese can't rise to his manager's demands, he better hope his team's bats can. Despite splitting the season series 6-6, the Mets have only amassed 26 runs, or an average of 2.17 runs per game.
The Braves, who have averaged a slightly better 3.25 runs per over the course of the 12 matchups, including an eight- and nine-run pair of showings, have been crushing the ball as of late. Atlanta has tallied 39 runs over its past five games, drilling nine home runs over that span.
Mets: Jose hurting
After missing five straight games with a strained right oblique muscle, including Monday's series opener against the Braves, there remains no set timetable for shortstop Jose Reyes' return. He took part in fielding drills Monday at Turner Field, and will be reevaluated before Tuesday's contest. Reyes originally strained the muscle in June.
Braves: Let the man hit
Braves infielder Omar Infante, a 2010 National League All-Star, recorded another two hits Monday to bring his average to .343. Unfortunately for Infante, he remains 137 plate appearances shy of being eligible to contend for the NL batting title. Infante would need to average 4.42 plate appearances over the next 31 games to qualify. ... Braves starter Derek Lowe, seen shaking his arm Sunday against the Marlins, felt sore following the game and will test his elbow during a side session Tuesday.
Going 4-for-5 in Monday's 9-3 victory over the Mets, Braves rookie outfielder Jason Heyward extending his hitting streak to five games, and has now hit safely in eight of his past nine contests. Over the nine games, the red-hot Heyward has batted .528 with four homers and nine RBIs. He has also chipped in seven walks, bringing his on-base percentage to .591.
Tue, 8/31 7:10 PM ET
Braves rout Mets, close out August with a bang
Notching their fourth straight win, the Braves posted a seven-run fifth off Mets starter Jon Niese -- highlighted by David Ross' first career slam -- as they drubbed the Mets and maintained a three-game lead in the NL East.
|Castillo, L, 2B||5||1||2||0||0||0||0||.241|
|Wright, D, 3B||3||1||0||0||1||0||1||.290|
|Davis, I, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.248|
|Blanco, H, C||3||0||0||1||0||0||0||.241|
|Carter, C, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.268|
|Tejada, R, SS||4||0||2||0||0||1||0||.181|
|Hernandez, L, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.222|
|Lee, D, 1B||3||1||3||1||1||0||0||.251|
|1-Hernandez, Di, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.143|
|Gonzalez, Al, SS||4||1||1||1||0||1||4||.260|
|Cabrera, Me, CF-LF||3||1||2||1||1||1||1||.260|
|Ross, D, C||4||1||2||4||0||2||4||.282|
1-Ran for Lee, D in the 7th.
2B: Beltran (8, Minor).
TB: Castillo, L 2; Beltran 2; Francoeur; Carter, C; Tejada, R 2.
RBI: Francoeur (54), Blanco, H (8).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Davis, I; Niese 2; Francoeur; Carter, C.
SF: Francoeur; Blanco, H.
Team RISP: 0-for-5.
Team LOB: 8.
E: Castillo, L (2, fielding).
Outfield assists: Francoeur (Prado at home).
DP: (Castillo, L-Davis, I-Tejada, R).
2B: Lee, D (25, Niese), Prado (34, Niese), Heyward (25, Niese), Cabrera, Me (25, Igarashi).
3B: Ross, D (2, Niese).
HR: Ross, D (2, 5th inning off Niese, 3 on, 2 out).
TB: Infante; Heyward 2; Prado 3; Lee, D 4; Gonzalez, Al; Cabrera, Me 3; Ross, D 7.
RBI: Lee, D (63), Heyward 2 (64), Gonzalez, Al (73), Ross, D 4 (26), Cabrera, Me (38).
2-out RBI: Ross, D 4.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Cabrera, Me; Heyward; Ross, D; McLouth 2.
Team RISP: 6-for-16.
Team LOB: 6.
E: Diaz (2, fielding).
Pitches-strikes: Niese 106-66, Dessens 3-2, Igarashi 32-20, Feliciano 14-7, Minor 104-61, O'Flaherty 12-8, Venters 13-8, Saito 12-7, Moylan 10-8.
Groundouts-flyouts: Niese 6-0, Dessens 1-0, Igarashi 2-3, Feliciano 2-0, Minor 3-7, O'Flaherty 2-0, Venters 1-0, Saito 0-1, Moylan 1-0.
Batters faced: Niese 26, Dessens 1, Igarashi 9, Feliciano 3, Minor 25, O'Flaherty 3, Venters 3, Saito 3, Moylan 3.
Umpires: HP: Alfonso Marquez. 1B: Tim Timmons. 2B: Dan Iassogna. 3B: Bob Davidson.
Weather: 85 degrees, clear.
Wind: 6 mph, R to L.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media