Mets, Braves begin final week with doubleheader

NEW YORK -- Two teams being led by managers who may be in their final week on the job will square off in a doubleheader Monday when the New York Mets host the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

The doubleheader, necessitated by a rainout in New York on April 25, will be a single-gate affair starting at 4:10 p.m. EDT. The second game will begin 30 minutes after the opener concludes.

In the first game, Mets right-hander Chris Flexen (3-4, 7.13 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Braves right-hander Lucas Sims (2-5, 5.14 ERA) in a battle of rookies. New York right-hander Seth Lugo (6-5, 5.03 ERA) is slated to duel Atlanta rookie left-hander Max Fried (1-0, 4.41 ERA) in the nightcap.

Both teams lost Sunday, when the Mets fell to the Washington Nationals 3-2 at Citi Field and the host Braves completed their first season at SunTrust Park with a 2-0 blanking at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.

With the Braves (70-84) and Mets (66-89) long out of contention, talk has shifted in recent weeks to the fates of Atlanta manager Brian Snitker and New York skipper Terry Collins.

Snitker, who is in his first full season at the helm, has an option for 2018 that has not yet been picked up. He met with Braves executives Saturday to discuss his future, but no decision was reached.

"It was a good meeting and we had a chance to talk about the year going forward," Snitker said. "It was a lot of positive things."

The future appears far cloudier for Collins, who is about to complete his seventh season at the helm. While Collins steered the Mets to the World Series in 2015 and has managed the most games in team history, he is unsigned beyond 2017, and general manager Sandy Alderson has repeatedly said any discussions will be held once the season concludes.

Collins said Friday afternoon that he hasn't pondered the possibility he could be in the midst of his final homestand. The Mets end the season by visiting the Philadelphia Phillies for three games beginning Friday.

"I've got enough on my plate trying to figure out this pitching, trying to figure out guys' playing time," Collins said. "That's where the focus is going to be, and it'll be there for the next, certainly, 10 days."

The start Monday will be the first since Sept. 3 for Flexen, who made his past four appearances out of the bullpen. Flexen hasn't pitched since Wednesday, when he tossed two scoreless innings in the Mets' 9-2 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Sims didn't factor into the decision Wednesday, when he gave up one run in five innings in the Braves' 7-3 loss to the Nationals.

Lugo didn't factor into the decision Tuesday, when he allowed one run in five innings as the Mets fell to the Marlins 5-4 in 10 innings.

Fried will also start Monday for the first time since Sept. 3. He last pitched Sept. 16, when he faced the Mets for the first time in his career and tossed a scoreless inning in the Braves' 7-3 loss.

Flexen has never faced the Braves. Lugo is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in two career starts against the Braves. Sims allowed two runs in two innings of relief in his lone appearance against the Mets on Sept. 16.
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