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The Braves strike back

Forcing a Star Wars pun into the recap is by far the most entertaining outcome from this game.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In a game that started off very promisingly, the Mets fell apart in the sixth en route to their first non-series win of the season, falling to the Braves 9-2. The bullpen generally, and Adam Ottavino in particular were the primary culprits - the righthander failed to record an out, allowed all three of the runners he inherited to score, and then was charged with three runs of his own. A quiet offense that failed to make chance of ample free passes couldn’t overcome the poor pitching performance.

Circling back to that promising start, Tylor Megill deserves a ton of credit. After battling his way through five no-hit innings on Friday, Megill didn’t allow a hit through four more innings to start today’s game. Splitting nine no-hit innings across two games is in no way equivalent to actually throwing a no-hitter, but it’s an impressive feat nonetheless and a testament to the improvements Megill has made. Even after finally giving up a hit in the fifth, he seemed to be in total control.

Then the sixth inning. An infield hit and two singles loaded the bases with one out. Then the previously mentioned Ottavino blowup took place. That included a bases loaded walk, a wild pitch, a double, a single, and zero batters retired. By the time Trevor Williams entered and escaped the inning (while allowing two hits and a walk of his own), the Braves had scored seven and the game was well out of hand.

In Ottavino’s defense, he was pitching for a third consecutive day and is also generally the sort of wild pitcher that should never be brought in to a bases loaded jam. That he was forced into such a spot is evidence of both poor bullpen management and disastrous bullpen construction. The Mets’ failure to develop viable bullpen arms while also refusing to pay them in recent years has led to a thin, underwhelming, and inflexible group, issues exacerbated further but Trevor May’s injury which will keep him sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, the game. Eduardo Escobar had an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth as the Mets made a futile show of not going down without a fight. Of course, they had previously left two men on in the first and third, another in the fourth, and grounded into a double play in the fifth. This isn’t meant to be overly critical - Ian Anderson is a good pitcher and bad sequencing days like this will happen. It’s a long season, sometimes weekday afternoon getaway games are just frustrating for all parties involved.

Whoops, strayed away from the game itself there again. Williams gave up a two-run home run in the eighth and Luis Guillorme hit a meaningless (but fun!) home run of his own in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets lost 9-2, failing to win a series for the first time this season. They’re still 18-9, playing really well generally and have been quite fun to watch...but would it kill the offense to hit a couple more bombs here and there?

The Mets will hit the road again now, heading down to Philadelphia by bus for another four game series. Taijuan Walker will square off against Aaron Nola and the possibly-no-longer-dormant Phillie offense. On the bright side, the Mets will miss Zack Wheeler, meaning they have a decent shot to get back to their series-winning ways.

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Win Probability Added

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What’s WPA?

Big winner: Tylor Megill, +10.6% WPA
Big loser: Adam Ottavino, -31.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -26.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: -23.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: James McCann hits an infield single in the fifth, +4.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Adam Duvall doubles to left to drive in two, -14.1% WPA