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Mets vs Braves Recap: Three ninth inning runs not enough as Mets lose 4-3

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The Mets snoozed through eight innings before a furious ninth inning comeback attempt that came up just short.

Mike Zarrilli

The Mets lost 4-3 tonight, but it easily could have been 4-0. I'll gladly take a briefly-exciting failed comeback attempt over a steaming pile boring shutout, and the former is what our heroes gave us. So thank you, Mets, for not going quietly into the night.

Through the first eight innings tonight, the Mets failed to score a run and managed just three baserunners against Braves starter Ervin Santana. Then in the ninth inning alone, they knocked three base hits and drew two walks.

The rally started against Jordan Walden. Eric Young Jr. led off with a walk, Daniel Murphy struck out, and David Wright singled to put runners on first and third with one out. The Braves then went to ace closer Craig Kimbrel, and it didn't look like the Mets had much of a shot, despite the two baserunners. However, Kimbrel walked the first batter he faced, Curtis Granderson, loading the bases for Lucas Duda. The big lug is one of just ten batters to ever homer off Kimbrel, but there would not be a repeat tonight. Duda struck out.

Up next was the King of April, Juan Lagares, who delivered a two-run single to make the score 4-2. Between his .946 OPS and stellar defense, Lagares has been a joy to watch in the early going. A struggling Travis d'Arnaud followed with an RBI single of his own, leaving it to Ruben Tejada with runners on first and third with two outs. Andrew Brown was on the bench, and is a better overall hitter than Tejada, but I was okay with leaving Tejada up to bat since he's the superior contact hitter. It didn't pan out, though, and Kimbrel struck out Tejada swinging to end it. Game over.

Zack Wheeler started for the Mets and had a mixed-bag type of game:

  • Gave up four runs in five innings: not good.
  • Struck out six and walked none: good.
  • Seemed to be throwing a lot of meatballs in the fifth inning, during which he gave up three runs: not good.
  • Generated 18 swinging strikes over 96 pitches, good for a stellar 19% rate: great.
Wheeler gave up a leadoff home run to the first batter he faced, Jason Heyward. He settled down for the next three innings, but was knocked around a bit in his fifth and final inning. Overall, the game was something of a microcosm of Wheeler's young career: promising but not a finished product.

Santana owned the Mets in his eight-inning, three-hit, no-run Braves debut. He need just 88 pitches to make it through those eight innings. Compare to the 96 pitches Wheeler threw in five innings. Santana threw ten or fewer pitches in five innings, and consistently kept the ball in the bottom half of the strike zone. He looks like a strong addition to the Braves' rotation.

The Mets and Braves close their three-games series on Thursday at 7:10 pm in Atlanta. The pitching matchup is Jenrry Mejia vs David Hale.

Unintentionally sexual quote of the game: "I think [Warthen] wants to give Wheeler a little bit of a blow." -- Ron Darling

SB Nation GameThreads

Amazin' Avenue GameThread
Talking Chop GameThread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: Travis d'Arnaud +2.8%, David Wright +2.6%
Big losers: Ruben Tejada -19.7%, Zack Wheeler -16.6% (as pitcher)
Teh aw3s0mest play: Travis d'Arnaud RBI single in the ninth inning, +8.2%
Teh sux0rest play: Ruben Tejada strikeout to end the game, -15.3%
Total pitcher WPA: -15.3%
Total batter WPA: -34.7%
GWRBI!: Freddie Freeman two-run single in the fifth inning