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Mets-Braves Preview

That Atlanta Braves are supposed to be rebuilding, but they've instead put together their best start to a season in 21 years.

The bullpen's start is the best since the franchise relocated to Atlanta.

The Braves try to continue their perfect start and complete a sweep of the New York Mets on Sunday.

Atlanta (5-0) spent the offseason revamping its roster, trading away outfielders Justin Upton and Jason Heyward and catcher Evan Gattis before dealing four-time All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel on the eve of the season opener.

Those departures certainly haven't had a negative impact thus far for the Braves, who have opened with five wins for the first time since going 7-0 in 1994.

Perhaps the most unexpected success has come from the bullpen, which was anchored by Kimbrel who had at least 42 saves in each of the past four seasons.

Atlanta relievers have combined to allow five hits in 18 scoreless innings, the best start to a season for the franchise since moving from Milwaukee in 1966. It's the best start in the majors since San Diego didn't allow a run in relief for the first 29 innings of 2007.

The bullpen's importance has been obvious, with four of the Braves' victories decided by two runs or one. That's been the case in the first two games of this series, as the relievers have allowed just two hits while fanning eight Mets in seven innings.

Jim Johnson, rookie Brandon Cunniff and Luis Avilan combined to go three innings in Saturday's 5-3 victory.

The Braves are also getting timely hitting, reaching double-digit hits only once this season. They've collected nine in each game against New York (2-3), totaling six doubles and two homers.

"People are just trying to get the job done and move the runner," said first baseman Freddie Freeman, who is 7 for 21 after hitting his first homer Saturday. "If we can keep doing that and play the game of baseball, good things usually happen."

Alex Wood will try to make some more good things happen for Atlanta when he makes his second start. The left-hander had a solid season debut, yielding two runs over five innings of a 12-2 win at Miami on Tuesday.

Wood is 0-2 with a 4.10 ERA in five starts against the Mets, receiving just seven total runs of support in those outings.

While the Braves willingly traded their closer, New York lost Jenrry Mejia for 80 games Saturday following a positive drug test.

"I understand everything about it, I really do," manager Terry Collins said. "But you know what? There's 24 other guys in that locker room that need him, too. That's why it's real disappointing."

Collins can't be too thrilled with the Mets' offense, either. His team is batting .196 after being held to a season-low three hits Saturday.

Curtis Granderson has been a major culprit, going 1 for 16 while stranding seven runners. His career average against the Braves dropped to .184 after Saturday's 0-for-3 effort.

Bartolo Colon will try to build on a very strong season debut for New York.

The right-hander allowed one run and three hits with eight strikeouts in a 3-1 season-opening win at Washington on Monday.

He went 1-2 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts against the Braves last season, tossing seven innings in a 4-0 victory at Turner Field on April 8, 2014.

Freeman is 6 for 10 with three doubles against Colon, while Jonny Gomes is 8 for 17 with two homers.

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