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Walker faltered and the bats froze in afternoon loss to the Braves

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The Mets lost the series on Camp Day. How dare they!

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

Sometimes, a team can pull of a big win that leads to a streak of success in its wake. After last night’s dramatic win, featuring a big defensive flourish from Michael Conforto and James McCann, it seemed like the Mets could maybe use that momentum to push forward in their series finale against the Braves.

It didn’t exactly go that way.

Taijuan Walker started for the Mets and, has been the case since his final pre-All-Star Game start, he struggled. Walker started the day off strongly, only allowing one baserunner on a walk through the first three innings. He was staked to a lead after Dominic Smith drove in Brandon Nimmo in the bottom of the third. The Mets may have had more in them that inning against a not quite-sharp Drew Smyly, but Smith got thrown out stretching the RBI single into a failed double.

In the fourth, a second walk came back to bite Walker when Austin Riley, suddenly the hottest hitter in baseball, took Walker deep to put the Braves up 2-1. Two batters later, Abraham Almonte hit a solo home run, and Walker’s recent struggles continued.

Smyly allowed eight baserunners over the first four innings, but a combination of good defense, timely strikeouts, and twice Walker coming to the plate with men on and two outs led to Smyly getting through four innings without any runs crossing the plate.

Four singles in the fifth inning, highlighted by RBI knocks from Ozzie Albies and Riley, put the Braves up 5-1 and closed the book on Walker for the day.

In the bottom of the inning, Nimmo led off with a single and was quickly driven home by a 453 foot, upper deck blast off the bat of Pete Alonso, which put the Mets back within two runs, knocking Smyly from the game.

That would prove to be the last gasp for the Mets, who only saw three players reach base in their final four turns at bat. Jeurys Familia gave up a solo home run to Dansby Swanson in the eighth for good measure, but the Braves didn’t need it to take the game, and the series, from the Mets.

In the final bummer of the day, Brandon Drury just missed tying the Mets record for nine hits in nine plate appearances. Start a new streak tomorrow, Brandon.

Tomorrow is the trading deadline, so there is a chance that the roster that played today will be different tomorrow. Regardless of the roster moves, the team will physically look quite different, as they will be donning their black jerseys for the first time since 2012. The starting pitcher will certainly look different, as Carlos “Cookie” Carrasco makes his regular season Mets debut against the Cincinnati Reds and Sonny Gray.

Box scores

MLB.com

ESPN

-illar of the day

Jonathan Villar had three hits in his four at-bats. That’s good enough for the honor.

Win Probability Added

Mets vs Braves WPA Chart, 7/29/21
Fangraphs.com

What’s WPA?

Big Mets winner: Brandon Nimmo, +10.0% WPA

Big Mets loser: Taijuan Walker, -39.8% WPA

Mets pitchers: -30.9% WPA

Mets hitters: -19.1% WPA

Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s moon-shot of a home run, +13.0% WPA

Teh sux0rest play: -24.5% WPA

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