Sometimes how the Gut Reacts depends on the season. If this game were played in late September and was fraught with divisional implications, I’d be upset. Since it’s the second game of the season? Meh…
The contest began as advertised, a fun pitching matchup between the Braves’ Bartolo Colon — and how funny does that sound? — and Jacob deGrom. For six innings the two former teammates matched each other stride-for-stride and pitch-for-pitch. Colon made one mistake, a down-and-in changeup that Jay Bruce skittered off the right field fence in the fifth for his — and the Mets’ — first home run of the season. Colon had a vintage Colon night: six innings, two hits, one walk, six strikeouts. deGrom had a vintage deGrom night: six innings, two hits, one walk, six strikeouts. Unfortunately, Hansel Robles wasn’t nearly as effective as he’d been in Monday’s opener.
Robles came on in the seventh and got leadoff hitter Matt Kemp on a bizarre dribbler in front of the plate for the first out. That was his last bit of good news. He then proceeded to give up a triple to Nick Markakis, a walk to Brandon Phillips and a double to Adonis Garcia just past Bruce’s glove for the tie. He was removed after hitting Kurt Suzuki in the hip with a fastball. In came Jerry Blevins, who heroically got the last two outs, striking out pinch hitter Emilio Bonifacio and getting Ender Inciarte on a grounder to first.
So it was the battle of the bullpens, and you’d think “advantage: Mets,” right? Wrong. This wasn’t Monday anymore. The Braves relievers were staunch, surrendering a mere three hits and two walks — one of them “intentional” — over the span of six innings. The Mets’ ‘pen was also up to the task…until it wasn’t. After Blevins, Fernando Salas survived an error by Jose Reyes at third base in the eighth, inducing a double play by the ever dangerous Freddie Freeman in the process. Addison Reed pitched a clean ninth, Josh Edgin pitched a clean tenth. The next-to-last man up was the beleaguered Rafael Montero. He gave up a walk to Kemp leading off the eleventh and looping single to Phillips to put runners at first and third with one out, but got Garcia to chop into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning. In the twelfth, Montero lost all his steam. Suzuki led off with a base hit. Travis d’Ardaud’s big brother Chase pinch ran. After Jace Peterson struck out failing to get a bunt down, Inciarte drew a walk. After Dansby Swanson grounded out to first, Freeman got one of those “intentional walks.” Kemp then sent a rocket barely over the glove of a leaping Reyes and the Braves had a two-run lead. In the bottom of the twelfth, Curtis Granderson grounded out meekly to second, Neil Walker scalded a ball down the third base linbe, but Peterson did what Reyes couldn’t: jump up and snagged the liner. Bruce sent a sharp single into right, stirring hope briefly, but Lucas Duda fanned on a Jim Johnson sinker and that was that.
Hang with ’em. Go take the rubber game tomorrow night.