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PHI@NYM: Collins discusses Marcum's 2013 debut

The Mets didn't fare well against the Phillies or the Marlins. Now they'll try their hand against the National League East-leading Braves.

New York was outscored, 18-5, in a three-game sweep at the hands of Philadelphia over the weekend. The club salvaged its series in Miami with a win on Wednesday after dropping the first two.

Last season the Braves claimed 12 of their 18 meetings with the Mets.

In Friday's series opener at Turner Field, the Mets will hand the ball to Shaun Marcum, who took the loss in New York's 15-inning defeat against the Marlins on Monday -- well, Tuesday morning, technically. Marcum volunteered to pitch on his regular throw day, so the outing didn't disrupt his routine leading up to Friday's start.

"I applaud him," manager Terry Collins said. "Because [catcher] Anthony Recker was next [up to pitch]."

The loss gave Marcum his second defeat in a span of three days. He dropped a decision against the Phillies on Saturday after allowing three runs on five hits in four innings in his first outing of the season.

"It's not what I wanted from a statistical standpoint," Marcum said. "I wasn't very efficient there in the second and third innings. My pitch count rose pretty quickly those two innings. But as far as health, everything felt pretty good. I've just got to get back to work and make sure that next time out, I'm locating my pitches, getting the ball put in play early in the count and going deep in the game."

The Braves will counter with Mike Minor. Minor submitted four strong outings to open the 2013 campaign before struggling against the Tigers on Sunday, when he surrendered six runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"It was my job to hold them, and I didn't," Minor said.

Mets: Parnell shuts the door
Collins turned to Bobby Parnell to close out Wednesday's win over the Marlins. A day earlier he'd avoided using his closer, who had tossed three innings over the previous two games.

"I'm just not going to blow this guy out," Collins said. "He's had some elbow [problems] -- nothing serious, but a year ago we did this, and his elbow came up sore for a while. So I'm not going to do that. It's too early."

Braves: Upton named top player for April
Outfielder Justin Upton was named the National League Player of the Month on Thursday thanks to the unbelievable offensive numbers he put up to begin the season.

Upton led all Major Leaguers with 12 home runs and a .734 slugging percentage. He batted .298 with 22 runs scored, 19 RBIs and a .402 on-base percentage in April.

"It's been fun," Upton said. "We've won some ballgames, and I've hit the ball well. It's just been a good first month."

Worth noting
• The Mets will consider activating reliever Frank Francisco, who is recovering from inflammation in his right elbow, once he proves he can pitch in back-to-back games.

• On Thursday, Braves catcher Evan Gattis was named the National League Rookie of the Month for April. Comments