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Mets vs. Braves Recap: Mets’ bats no match for Bartolo et al.

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A pitcher’s duel turned into an uninspiring extra-inning game in which the Mets’ offense went AWOL.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Each baseball game carves its own unique and nuanced path to an immutable conclusion: One team wins, another team loses. The games in a season pile up quickly, and we eschew the plot points that build the stories of individual games in favor of the emergent bigger picture. How did the Mets do in April this year compared to last? Hey, it’s Memorial Day, and we’re starting to get an idea of how the NL East might shake out this year.

lose-3-1

You pay attention to those things, and, thank goodness, you take most games like the one the Mets played against the Braves Wednesday night, and you chuck them in the dust bin along with other stinky and unseemly things that are better left in your forgotten past. There are some things that just aren’t worth remembering, and this game was one of them.

The bummer of it is that the first half of the game was rather delightful. Jacob deGrom mostly cruised through his season debut, going six full innings while striking out six batters, giving up only two hits, walking one batter, and yielding no runs. On the other side, our old pal Bartolo Colon basically did deGrom one better, baffling Mets hitters with his remarkably-well-executed arsenal of unremarkable pitches en route to an 80-pitch, six-inning outing. It was a pitcher’s duel, and we like pitcher’s duels.

There were a few other interesting things over the course of those first six innings. For the second straight game, the Mets were the beneficiaries of an overturned call. With one out in the fifth inning, Adonis Garcia hit a roller to third base and appeared to beat out Jose Reyes’ throw to first. Terry Collins challenged the call, but replays seemed to indicate the “safe” call was correct—or, at the very least, too close to justify reversing the call. Naturally, the umpires proceeded to reverse the call due to some finer point of the ball hitting the leather of Duda’s glove, much to the surprise of many—Gary, Keith, and Ron among them.

The call reversal felt like a break the Mets might be able to capitalize on, and the feeling was reinforced in the bottom of that inning when Jay Bruce hit a solo home run—both his and the Mets’ first of the year. Alas, what felt like hope for the beginning of a rally turned out to be the only offense of consequence the Mets would muster for the remainder of the game, which, following a quick sixth inning—the last, as noted, for both starting pitchers—proceeded to plod onward from there on out with all the energy of a dirge.

Sure, yes, there were moments of fun, and some noteworthy performances to boot. Jerry Blevins, for one, stepped right into the middle of the bases-loaded, one-out dumpster fire that Hansel Robles had lit in the top of the 7th and tamped it right down without letting another run across. Fernando Salas brushed off an error from Jose Reyes and induced a double play ground ball from Freddie Freeman; then he worked around a double to Matt Kemp and struck out Brandon Phillips to end yet another scoreless inning. Addison Reed pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning—a feat that Josh Edgin repeated in the top of the 10th.

Rafael Montero entered the game in the top of the 11th inning as the Mets’ 7th pitcher of the evening. The Mets’ near-total lack of offense had drained the life out of the game by this point, to say nothing of the chilly clime at Citi Field. Montero got himself into trouble right away by walking the first batter he faced, Matt Kemp. One out later, Kemp advanced to third on a Brandon Phillips single, and we all had a feeling where this was going. Improbably, Montero induced an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play from Adonis Garcia.

The Mets’ bats again had nothing to offer in the bottom of the 11th, and when the Braves scored a couple runs in the top of the 12th on a Matt Kemp double, it almost felt like a mercy killing. Indeed, the Mets’s offense went down quietly yet again in their final chance at salvation, and the game drew to its chilly conclusion.

It’s a long season, and this game will be a great one to forget. In the meantime, we have Matt Harvey’s season debut to look forward to tomorrow evening, along with the Mets’ attempt at winning this first series against the Braves. Here’s hoping for some offense.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jacob deGrom, +34.7% WPA, Jay Bruce, +26.4% WPA, Jerry Blevins, +24.6% WPA
Big losers: Hansel Robles, -36.%9 WPA, Rafael Montero, -30.8% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce’s solo home run in the bottom of the 5th inning
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Kemp doubles in two runs in the top of the 12th inning
Total pitcher WPA: 28.9 WPA+
Total batter WPA: 78.9 WPA-
GWRBI!: Matt Kemp