The Mets—winners of seven straight series to kick off their season—hoped to start the eighth on the right foot on Monday. Taking on their division rival—and the defending World Champion—Atlanta Braves. After wasting an early opportunity in the first inning, the team struck for single runs in both the second and the third innings. In the second, Starling Marte blooped a double to lead off the frame, took third on a deep fly out by Jeff McNeil, then scored on a wild pitch by Max Fried.
In the third, Mark Canha launched his first home run as a Met to left center to extend the lead. Unfortunately, New York’s offense would go mostly silent thereafter—the only two hits after Canha’s home run would be a McNeil bunt single in the fifth and a Marte single in the ninth—and its baserunning would miss several potential opportunities to take an extra base.
Meanwhile, the Braves began to chip away in the top of the fourth on an Austin Riley solo bomb to the second deck in left center off of Chris Bassitt to cut the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Bassitt settled back down and looked to have a 1-2-3 fifth in the books, but an inexplicable missed strike three down the middle to Dansby Swanson ultimately cost him a walk. He followed by hitting Ronald Acuna Jr. before escaping the frame after burning another 10 or so pitches.
Perhaps it cost him the next inning, as Bassitt became the victim of a lot of soft contact in the top of the sixth. Riley led off with an infield single to lead off the top of the sixth. After a force out, Ozzie Albies dribbled a grounder to left against the shift to put runners on first and second for Travis d’Arnaud. The former Met again came through against his former team, stretching to bloop an outside curve ball over Pete Alonso and into short right field for an RBI double to tie the game. Adam Duvall followed with a sacrifice fly to give Atlanta a lead they would never relinquish.
The Mets did waste a golden opportunity in the bottom of the seventh, as with two outs, Tyler Matzek lost his command, walking McNeil and Brandon Nimmo around a McCann hit by pitch to load the bases. However, Colin McHugh came on to strike out Canha and end the threat.
Trevor May’s struggles continued in the top of the eighth, as he walked Matt Olson to start the frame. The possibly injured reliever seemed poised to battle through, coming back from a 3-0 count to retire Riley and then Marcell Ozuna. However, Albies reached on an infield single, then it was d’Arnaud again, lining a double down the left field line to bring in two huge insurance runs for the Braves, as Atlanta claimed the series opener.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Starling Marte, +12.9 WPA
Big Mets loser: Trevor May, -16.1% WPA
Mets pitchers: -28.9% WPA
Mets hitters: -21.1% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Mark Canha’s solo home run in the bottom of the third, +11.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Travis d’Arnaud’s RBI double in the top of the sixth, -25.9% WPA