Two games into their four-game series in Atlanta, the Mets seem to be on cruise control. Clearly the superior team in both games, the Mets have not yet trailed in the series. Aside from the scoreless innings that began both games, the Braves have not even tied the score thus far in the series.
Last night, it was once again the Yoenis Cespedes show. The outfielder has already been one of the best trade deadline acquisitions of all time. He’s hit 15 home runs in 38 games with the Mets. Over 162 games, that’s a pace of 64 home runs. Maintaining that pace over a full season would be incredibly difficult, of course, but that’s how great Cespedes has been for the Mets.
Cespedes was involved in all but one of the Mets’ five runs in the game. In the third, Curtis Granderson worked a leadoff walk, and Cespedes hit a long double to drive him in for the game’s first run. In the fifth, Granderson led off the inning with a single. Cespedes singled, too, and both runners advanced on a Daniel Murphy ground out—which was only an out because Freddie Freeman made one of a few outstanding defensive plays on the night for Atlanta. Granderson wound up scoring on a Matt Wisler balk.
And in the ninth inning, Curtis Granderson, leading off for the fifth time on the night, drew another walk. Cespedes followed that up with a moonshot of a home run to left field that was so clearly a home run that all Gary Cohen could do with his call on SNY was wonder where—or perhaps whether—it would land.
The Mets’ other run came in between episodes of the Cespedes Show. Michael Cuddyer pinch hit, his first appearance since missing time with an injured wrist, and reached on an infield single. Eric Young Jr. ran for him and moved to third on a Ruben Tejada single. And the Braves went all Barves and allowed him to score on a passed ball.
Obscured by all of that but not forgotten, Mets pitchers had a very good night on the mound. Steven Matz wasn’t dominant with just two strikeouts and two walks in five innings, but he gave up only one run on a surprising solo home run by Daniel Castro, his first home run at any level of baseball this season. Erik Goeddel threw a scoreless sixth inning with one strikeout, Addison Reed struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh, Tyler Clippard allowed a couple of hits but still struck out two in a scoreless, 11-pitch inning in the eighth, and Jeurys Familia gave up one hit but threw a scoreless ninth.
With that win and the Nationals’ loss last night, the Mets’ lead in the National League East increased to eight-and-a-half games. Their magic number to clinch the division is now just 14, and they are looking as good right now as they have at any point this season.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Yoenis Cespedes, +21.9% WPA, Steven Matz, +13.6% WPA, Curtis Granderson, +11.7% WPA
Big losers: David Wright, -14.8% WPA, Travis d’Arnuad, -12.5% WPA, Ruben Tejada, -10.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Cespedes doubles to score Granderson in the third, +15.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Daniel Castro hits a solo home run in the fifth, -13.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +39.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +10.7% WPA
GWRBI!: none (Granderson scores on a balk in the fifth)