The Atlanta Braves headed into Thursday evening tied for second place in the NL East. However, they would have to play the division leading Mets in a 4 game set to try and stay in the division race. They welcomed New York to SunTrust park with an impressive 13-5 record before the series began.
Game 1 of the series saw the Braves offense explode with 12 runs on 13 hits. Matt Harvey took the mound for New York and allowed 6 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings of work against Atlanta. He hasn’t been the same pitcher that he was after his slue of injuries. Meanwhile, Matt Wisler made his first start of the season for Atlanta after Anibal Sanchez suffered a strained hamstring before the series finale against the Phillies. Wisler looked sharp the entire night and ended up tossing 7 fantastic innings with only 1 earned run on 2 hits. He also managed to strike out 8 batters thanks to great command of his pitches and a new sense of confidence we’ve been longing to see from him. Preston Tucker racked up 5 RBIs in the first game with 2 doubles on the night. The Braves took game 1 with a final score of 12-4.
The next two games would be an absolute challenge for the Braves as they faced Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. However, Atlanta would find a way to compete against Syndergaard in game 2. Ozzie Albies would ambush Syndergaard on the first pitch he saw which was a 100 mph fastball that he deposited in the right field seats. They would score 2 more runs thanks to a double from Ryan Flaherty and sac fly from Kurt Suzuki. Syndergaard would leave the game after 6 innings on 7 hits allowing 3 earned runs and striking out 6 batters.
Sean Newcomb competed once again for the Braves as he went 6 innings on 6 hits with 2 earned runs and 5 strike outs. Unfortunately, he still had some issues with walking batters as he had 3 of them in this game. After Kurt Suzki’s sac fly in the 6th inning, the bullpen for each team kept the game scoreless until the top of the 12th when Yoenis Cespedes came to the plate 0-4 on the night and hit a single off of Josh Ravin (who was DFA’d after the game) to score the go ahead run. Asdrubal Cabrera would follow with an RBI double to bring the Mets to a 5-3 lead. The Braves would fail to score in the bottom of the inning as Jeurys Familia picked up his 8th save of the season. The final score of game 2 was 5-3 in favor of the Mets.
Game 3 of the series would see a pitching duel between Jacob deGrom and Julio Teheran. Mets ace Jacob deGrom would finish the day with 7 innings pitched with 0 earned runs on 4 hits. He also struck out 10 batters over that time frame. Julio Teheran would do his best to match deGrom as he went 7 innings with 0 earned runs on 4 hits with 6 strike outs. Julio’s walk rate has been cause for concern in the past few games, however, he only issued 1 walk in this start.
This game would get to the 8th inning before any score would be made. Sam Freeman came in for the Braves and unfortunately, keeping with the theme of the bullpen, he issued a lead off walk to Wilmer Flores. A bunt single from Jose Reyes would put two runners on for the Mets. Conforto would ground into a fielder’s choice but Reyes would be called safe upon review after Ozzie Albies made a rare error and dropped the ball at second base. This would end up loading the bases for New York as Shane Carle came in to relieve Sam Freeman. Unfortunately, the Mets would end up scoring thanks to a 2 run double from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Jay Bruce.
The Braves headed into the bottom of the 8th trailing by a 3-0 score but would start of the inning with a pinch hit walk from Ryan Flaherty off of Mets pitcher A.J. Ramos. After Ender Inciarte struck out, Ozzie Albies would also take a walk off of Ramos. With Braves runners on first and second base, the Mets would bring in Jerry Blevins to pitch to Freddie Freeman. The match-up would not work as Freeman launched a 2 run double to left center field. However, Mets manager Mickey Callaway would bring in closer Familia to try and get the 4 out save as the Braves shaved the Mets lead to 3-2.
As we got to the bottom of the 9th, it looked as if the game was over with one of the most dependable closers in the game on the mound for New York. However, the Braves offense had other plans for Familia. Dansby Swanson drew a lead off walk and was driven in on an RBI triple from Braves third baseman Johan Camargo to tie the game at 3 a piece. Kurt Suzuki would reach next on an infield single and Charlie Culberson would then strike out following the Braves catcher. With 1 out and runners on the corner, Ender Inciarte came to the plate and shocked everyone as he laid down a bunt single to the first base side to score Camargo and walk off the Mets for a final score of 4-3 in favor of the Braves. Jesse Biddle picked up his first major league win as he pitched a scoreless top of the 9th for Atlanta.
This was a big series and statement from the Braves that no matter what the situation they will continue to play hard until the final out is recorded. Game 4 was unfortunately postponed due to inclement weather and will be made up with a day-night double header on May 28th in Atlanta.
- The Braves starting pitching has been absolutely impressive so far this season. The pitching staff currently is ranked 6th in the Majors and 3rd in the National League. They have a 3.23 team ERA with 67 earned runs, 196 strike outs, and a .222 opponents average.
- Not to be outdone, the Braves offense has the 3rd best average in the Majors and are 1st in the National League. They are currently have a .266 average with a .345 on base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. They’ve notched 111 runs on 187 hits. 47 of those hits are doubles along with 3 triples and 20 home runs. The offense also has 105 RBIs and has walked 80 times so far this season. If they keep up this pace, this team is going to be something special as we get deeper into the 2018 season.
The Braves are currently 12-8 and in 3rd place in the NL East. They will have a fairly easy road ahead of them the next week. They head out on the road to take on the Reds (who are currently 3-18), Phillies (2nd place in NL East with a 14-7 record, and finish the road trip against the Mets (1st in NL East with a 14- 6 record). They should have an easy time since the Reds haven’t been playing so well and they’re very familiar with the Phillies and Mets at this point in the season. Game 1 against the Reds starts tonight at 6:40 pm EST.