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New York Mets Begin Biggest Road Trip of the Season in Atlanta Tonight

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New York Mets Begin Biggest Road Trip of the Season in Atlanta Tonight
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Mets finished their six-game homestand against the Diamondbacks yesterday on Mets Hall of Fame Day and got embarrassed. Facing a last-place club, the Mets didn't just lose, they got smoked, 14-1.

It had seemed as if it was going to be a special day. After four members of the Mets 1986 championship team were honored, Jon Niese hadn't allowed a hit through 3.1 innings. That's where everything would cave in, and the Mets would lose the series again to Arizona.

The Mets lost five of six to the Diamondbacks and are on their last legs, starting tonight. Believe it or not, things have gotten so bad for the Mets that they're actually closer in the division than in the Wild Card race.

They trail the Braves by 6.5 games in the NL East and trail the Giants by 7.5 games in the NL Wild Card. They are also tied for third place in the division with the Marlins. So therefore, this road trip will be the final chance for the Mets to breathe in 2010.

It's a road trip that will take the Mets to Atlanta and Philadelphia, the top two teams in the NL East.

Considering what the Mets did on their last road trip, losing nine of 11 including a trip to lowly Arizona, it would be hard to imagine the Mets faring well on this road trip.

Logic would say the Mets are in for a 1-5, and no better than 2-4 trip, which isn't good at this point. A trip of that magnitude would put a kibosh on the Mets plans for 2010.

The good thing for the Mets is they will have their ace, Johan Santana, start tonight's opener. The two bad things for the Mets are Santana didn't pitch well in his last start and they have to face Tim Hudson, who has been outstanding this season.

Nothing gets easier from this point on. The Mets can no longer take anything for granted, including games that haven't been played yet against the Astros and Pirates.

The thing that stood out in the Mets recent 2-9 road trip was the fact that both wins were games Santana started.

The Mets have to cross their fingers that Santana's last start was just a minor blip on the radar. After a dominant five-start month of July, Santana wilted in the first inning against the Cardinals on Wednesday.

He allowed six first-inning runs and set career-highs to forget on two accounts. The six-run first was the most runs he'd ever allowed in the first inning of a game, and he allowed a career-high 13 hits in total, spanning 5.2 innings. It was a game the Mets would rally to tie, 7-7, before losing in 13 innings.

On the mound for the Braves will be Tim Hudson, and man has he been fabulous this season. He has gone 11-5 while posting a 2.40 ERA in 21 starts. In 142.2 innings pitched, he's only allowed 111 hits.

Over his last two starts against the Padres and Nationals, he has dominated, winning both games while allowing just one run.

The Braves are a team that will have a different look than the last time the Mets faced them. They added center fielder Rick Ankiel and reliever Kyle Farnsworth to their club, and second baseman Martin Prado is on the disabled list with a fractured right pinkie.

The Mets will have Carlos Beltran back in the starting lineup, and should have all the regulars in except for Jason Bay, who's still on the disabled list with a concussion.

It'll be a tough challenge for the Mets beginning tonight in Atlanta, as they try to stay in the race a little longer.

Johan Santana vs. Atlanta this season (two starts)
1-0, 1.29 ERA, 14 IP, 10 hits, 5 BB, 9 SO

Tim Hudson vs. New York (July 10)
Win, 7 IP, 0 ER, 4 hits, 2 BB, 3 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Atlanta)

April 23: New York 5, Atlanta 2
April 24: New York 3, Atlanta 1
*April 25: New York 1, Atlanta 0

May 17: New York 3, Atlanta 2
May 18: Atlanta 3, New York 2

July 9: Atlanta 4, New York 2
July 10: Atlanta 4, New York 0
July 11: New York 3, Atlanta 0

Mets lead series 5-3

*-Denotes rain-shortened, five-inning game

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