After last night’s game, in which Carlos Carrasco strained his left oblique (which will cause him to miss at least 3-4 weeks) and the Mets got their metaphorical lunch eaten by the Braves, they were looking to bounce back with Taijuan Walker on the mound. But of course, nothing with the Mets can be easy. Eduardo Escobar was a late scratch a few hours before the game, which led to the Mets starting both Michael Pérez and Deven Marrero, which…well it leaves a lot to be desired. However, you can never count out the Mets, especially with a strong top part of the lineup, there’s always a chance, although maybe less of one facing Charlie Morton.
(The Eduardo Escobar injury issue led the Mets to finally give in and promote their second-best prospect Brett Baty, which led to much excitement for the fan base. However, he wasn’t active in time for the game, so there’s not much to discuss on that front in this recap.)
The first inning was quiet for the Mets. Brandon Nimmo led off with a single, but he was quickly erased by a double play and the Mets couldn’t make anything else happen. An inability to do literally anything against Morton was a theme for the evening. The Braves drew two walks, but a great pickoff throw to second by Pérez got Ronald Acuña Jr. trying to steal and the Braves were unable to drive either of their baserunners home.
In the second, the Mets got three straight strikeouts, looking completely unable to even touch what Morton was throwing, and all three strikeouts were looking, not swinging, which is not the best way to try and make contact on pitches. The Braves got a hit off of Walker in the second inning, but once again they weren’t able to bring the baserunner home.
The Mets only struck out once in the third, and were able to put the ball in play twice, but both times it resulted in outs. Taijuan Walker was out after the second, coming up hurt (with what was eventually deemed back spasms) after fielding at first for the third out in the second, so the Mets had to bring in R.J. Alvarez, who had just been recalled a few hours prior. He started out hot with a strikeout, then gave up a home run to Robbie Grossman, his first home run as a Brave. He walked Acuña (almost hitting him in the head in the process), but during Dansby Swanson’s at-bat, a wild pitch (that also almost hit him in the head) ricocheted off the backstop right to Pérez who spun around and threw Acuña out at second. Alvarez got out of the inning with just the one run scored.
In the fourth, Francisco Lindor was able to get a two out single against Morton, only the second hit by New York of the inning. But other than that they were once again completely stymied by Morton. In the bottom half of the inning an Austin Riley walk turned into an absolute tank from Matt Olson off Alvarez, to put the Braves ahead by three runs. Two straight singles made Alvarez look like he was about to get completely demolished, but he held it together and kept the score as is.
The Mets had three straight strikeouts again in the fifth inning. But at least this time they were all swinging, so they were learning from their mistakes. After a walk and the first out, Alvarez was removed during the bottom of the inning and replaced by Stephen Nogosek, who needed just two pitches for the other two outs of the inning to keep the score as-is.
In the sixth, the Mets were still being stifled by Morton, getting sent down in order with one strikeout in the bunch. Other than a two-out single, Nogosek’s bottom half was solid, keeping the Braves from getting any runners in scoring position, much less allowing any to score.
The seventh saw another Lindor single, the only Met able to be able to hit Morton consistently. A Daniel Vogelbach two-out walk finally knocked Morton from the game as the Mets brought the tying run to the plate with two runners on. McNeil drew a full count against the Braves reliever Dylan Lee, but he eventually struck out, stranding Lindor and Vogelbach and ending the inning without a run crossing the plate. Nogosek was back out for the seventh, Acuña drew his fourth walk of the game, and after Naquin bobbled a ball hit by Swnason, Acuña scored all the way from first. That was all for Nogosek, and Seth Lugo came out to try and clean things up with Swanson at second and only one out. He got another out but then Olson drove Swanson in to open the Braves lead up to five runs. He got out of the inning but the Mets were left with just six outs to try and win the game.
A.J. Minter came in for the Braves in the eighth, and he set down the Mets in order, putting the Mets hope for winning the game in even more peril than it was before the inning. The bottom of the inning was calm, with Lugo keeping things under control and getting three straight outs, with just three outs to go.
In the ninth, the Mets came up with their backs up against the wall and Raisel Iglesias on the mound against them. A leadoff Nimmo walk seemed to be the start of something, but Starling Marte hit into another double play to get the Mets to their final out with Lindor at the plate. Lindor grounded out to Olson at first to end the game.
The Mets fell in the first two games of the series to their division rival, with both starting pitchers coming out early with injuries. Hopefully the back spasms aren’t serious and Walker will be able to make his next scheduled start because the Mets are already looking at Peterson in the rotation again for the next month, and after that the depth really starts to thin out. But tomorrow, the Brett Baty era begins, and who knows what that future will bring. Hopefully, better games than tonight’s.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Taijuan Walker, +10.0% WPA
Big Mets loser: R.J. Alvarez, -22.5% WPA
Mets pitchers: -11.6% WPA
Mets hitters: -38.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: William Contreras grounding into a double play in the second, +7.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Matt Olson’s two-run home run in the fourth, -14.2% WPA