Rookies get nod for Braves-Mets finale

NEW YORK -- A pair of rookie pitchers looking to end their seasons on a high note will oppose each other Wednesday night when the New York Mets host the Atlanta Braves in the finale of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Mets right-hander Robert Gsellman (7-7, 5.38 ERA) is scheduled to square off against Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb (4-8, 4.26 ERA) in New York's home finale.

The Mets came back from a three-run deficit to earn a 4-3 win Tuesday night, when rookie outfielder Travis Taijeron laced the tiebreaking RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Newcomb enters the final start of his rookie season with more momentum than Gsellman. The 24-year-old won his second straight start last Friday night, when he allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings in Atlanta's 7-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The winning streak is the first at the major league level for Newcomb, who has allowed three runs or fewer in 10 of his last 11 starts for the Braves (71-86) dating back to July 23.

"Having some success is definitely the best thing going forward," Newcomb said Friday night. "I can come into spring knowing I can hopefully be in this rotation with some other younger guys."

Gsellman's spot in the Mets' 2018 rotation is far less secure. The 24-year-old didn't factor into the decision last Friday, when he allowed six runs (five earned) over five innings in New York's 7-6 win over the Washington Nationals.

Gsellman is going to finish the season second on the Mets in starts -- Wednesday will be his 22nd -- despite allowing four runs or more nine times. He also spent six weeks on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and was briefly demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas in August.

With the Mets (68-90) expecting to get back a cavalcade of injured pitchers -- Steven Matz (left elbow) and Zack Wheeler (right arm) are both ending the season on the disabled list while Matt Harvey (right shoulder) and Noah Syndergaard (torn right lat) each returned to action in September following multi-month absences -- Gsellman likely will open spring training ticketed for the Las Vegas rotation.

"I think he certainly has to go into the winter saying, 'Look, I've got to win a job,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said following the Friday's game. "Get himself in great shape and really, the closer you get to February, make sure his arm's in good shape so when he comes down there he can actually work on things instead of just trying to get ready for the season."

Newcomb is 1-1 with a 1.54 ERA in two career starts against the Mets, whom he faced in his major league debut on June 10. In a Sept. 15 win in Atlanta, he limited New York to two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Gsellman is 3-2 with a 4.24 ERA in seven career appearances (six starts) against the Braves, whom he has faced more than any other opponent. In five games (four starts) vs. Atlanta this year, he is 3-1 with a 3.80 ERA.
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