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Braves sweep Mets to complete road trip; Take first place in NL East

Atlanta came into this series in New York trailing the Mets by a game and a half in the NL East. They left New York leading the division by a game and a half. This ten game road trip started out very rough for the Braves as they dropped two games to the Cincinnati Reds (7-24) but they would recover to split the series with Cincinnati, win the series against the Phillies (17-13), and sweep the Mets (17-12). Atlanta finished the road trip winning 7 out of 10 games and sport a 19-11 record overall. They will return back to SunTrust Park tomorrow for a short 3 game series with the San Francisco Giants (16-15) before heading back on the road to take on Tampa Bay (13-16) and Miami (11-19).

Braves at Mets series recap (May 1-3, 2018)

Game 1 was one for the ages as top pitching prospect Mike Soroka made his MLB debut against division leading Mets. You couldn’t ask for a better first outing from a 20 year old making his first start in the majors as Soroka had a fantastic line (6 innings, 1 ER, 6 hits, 1 BB, 5 K). The offense backed him up with a 3-run first inning to also give Soroka his first major league win.

All 3 runs came thanks to the red hot bats of Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis who would each finish with a 2-5 line. Freeman hit a 2-run double and Markakis drove in Freeman on a RBI single. The only Atlanta hitter to not get 2 hits in the game was Ozzie Albies. Atlanta rattled off 10 hits against Noah Syndergaard, who has yet to beat the Braves since he began his career with the Mets. Syndergaard (6 innings, 3 ER, 10 hits, 1 BB, 3 K) couldn’t seem to find an answer for an aggressive Braves offense who doesn’t strike out much (237 this season which ranks them last in NL, 25th in MLB). Atlanta would go on to win the first game by a final score of 3-2.

The Braves came into Game 2 only a half a game back from 1st place in the NL East. Sean Newcomb took the mound hoping to feed off the momentum from Soroka’s impressive start. Atlanta would have its hands full as Jacob deGrom took the mound for New York. Newcomb was absolutely impressive in this start as he finished with a line of 7 innings, 0 ER, 2 hits, 1 BB, and 8 K. Sam Freeman and Peter Moylan both pitched 1 inning of work with 0 ER, 1 hit, 0 walks, and 1 strike out between the two of them.

The Braves’ bats were silent up until the top of the sixth inning with 2 outs against the Mets bullpen. Jacob deGrom had to leave the game after only 4 innings (0 ER, 2 hits, 0 BB, 6 K) with a hyper-extended elbow on his pitching arm. The Atlanta offense would score 7 runs on 9 hits against the Mets bullpen. Between the 7th and 8th innings, the Braves would hit 3 home runs to beat the Mets. Ender Inciarte (2-4, 2 RBIs) hit a 2-run home run for his first of the season, Johan Camargo (1-2, 2 RBIs) blasted a 2-run homer in the 8th, and Ryan Flaherty (1-4, 1 RBI) went back-to-back with Camargo as he hit a bullet to center field. The final of Game 2 was 7-0.

Game 3 saw the Braves looking to go for the sweep and maintain their spot at 1st place in the East. Julio Teheran would match up against Mets left-hander Jason Vargas. The Braves stunned Jason Vargas as he went 4 2/3 innings while allowing 6 earned runs on 11 hits. Julio Teheran looked absolutely fantastic as he had a no hitter through 6 2/3 innings. Julio had much better command of his pitches and looked confident the entire game. He also got in on the fun offensively with 2 hits and 1 RBI. Teheran would end up going 7 innings with no earned runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strike outs.

Atlanta would end up scoring 11 runs on 15 hits as the made a statement in the final game of the series. Acuna (3-5, 1 RBI), Markakis (3-4, 3 RBIs), Suzuki(2-5, 2 RBIs), and Albies (2-6, 3 RBIs) each hit a home run in the game. It seems that their impressive offensive production isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This team is young and has a lot of power and speed. In 30 games played so far this season, the Braves have 10+ hits in 15 of those games. Atlanta took game 3 and the series by a final score of 11-0.

Takeaways: 

  • In the last 5 games, the Braves have outscored their opponents 35-4 and has hit 10 home runs while only allowing 2 of them. Atlanta currently leads the National League and all of Major League Baseball in offense. They currently sport a .277 team average with a .346 on base percentage and a .456 slugging percentage. They’ve notched 301 hits with 37 home runs and 163 RBIs in 30 games played so far this season. They are first in the NL in doubles (73) and first in hits (301) across all of Major League Baseball. The Atlanta offense is also first in the NL and majors in runs scored (172). Atlanta’s run differential is at a NL best +57 and is third best in MLB. This offensive attack doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
  • Nick Markakis is having one of the best seasons of his career. He currently leads the team and National League in batting average (.336) and hits (40). His slash line is currently .336/.429/.529 as he cannot seem to stop hitting in the clean-up spot for Atlanta. Over his last 7 games, he has hit .375 with 9 hits including 2 home runs, 9 RBIs, and 6 runs scored. Nick has 40 hits in 119 at bats with 8 doubles, 5 home runs, and 23 RBIs. He has also scored 20 runs for the Braves across the 30 games he’s played in.
  • Freddie Freeman is absolutely on fire right now as he sports a .322 average (5th in NL) with 4 home runs and 22 RBIs. He leads the team in on base percentage at .436 and has 37 hits this season. Over his last 7 games, he is batting .423 with 11 hits including 1 triple and 4 doubles. He also has 5 RBIs and 2 walks while scoring 5 runs in that stretch. He is tied with teammate Ozzie Albies for the most doubles in the NL with 12 of them. They are also tied for second in the National League in hits (37). It’s safe to say Freddie is absolutely locked in right now.
  • Mike Soroka looked more than ready to be in the spotlight for Atlanta. His 6 inning, 5 strike out performance showed that he belongs in the show even at the tender age of 20. I really hope that Atlanta decides to keep him in the rotation and move Anibal Sanchez into a bullpen that needs a reliable long reliever. He has incredible command and control of almost every pitch in his arsenal and the confidence to compete against every batter he faces. Soroka has a very bright future in Atlanta and I cannot wait to see what his career has in store.
  • While the walk rate has not been that good for the Braves pitching staff (they have issued the most walks in MLB with 141 of them), they’ve done a great job overall. They have a team ERA of 3.35 and are 27th in hits allowed in all of the majors with only 224 of them. The only teams better in this area are the Cubs, Diamondbacks, and Astros. Only 115 runs (103 earned) have been allowed by this staff as well which sets them at 23rd across MLB teams and only 26 home runs have been given up (they had allowed 32 at this point last season). They have struck out 286 batters so far and opponents are only batting .222 against them which is good enough to be 3rd in MLB overall. However, their WHIP could be a lot better as it currently sits at 1.32. This pitching staff is light years ahead of where we expected them to be and I couldn’t be happier with what we’ve gotten from them so far (besides the walk rate).

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Master of Arts student in Communication at Liberty University Online. One of the biggest baseball fans you will ever meet. Proudly covering college, MiLB, and Braves baseball for Peachtree Pennant.

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