Gut Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 2 (4/12/19)

If this first series is any indication, the nineteen contests between the New York Mets and the Atlanta Braves in 2019 will be entertainment of the highest order. Taut pitching and clutch hitting have been the touchstones for New York here in the early going.

A day after Pete Alonso announced himself — loudly — to the reigning National League East champs, he found himself out of the lineup against rookie righthander Kyle Wright. Wright was opposed by local kid Zack Wheeler, who always seems to pitch well in front of the home folks. He had a little bit of a rough go of it in the first. After striking out Ender Inciarte leading off the game, Wheeler loaded the base on a single by Josh Donaldson and walks to Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna, Jr. Nick Markakis lifted a sacrifice fly to left and the Braves had a 1-0 lead. The Mets struck back quickly in the top of the second, though. With one out, Dominic Smith — getting Alonso’s at-bats tonight — pulled a base hit to right. After Keon Broxton struck out, Brandon Nimmo barreled up a low-90s fastball from Wright and sent it over the center field fence. Wright battled his control after that. He gave up a pair of two-out walks in the third and a leadoff pass to Broxton to start the fourth. Broxton promptly stole second, his fourth of the year. Nimmo then dropped a surprise bunt for a base hit, putting men on first and third. Wheeler surprisingly swung away and popped out to short left. That brought up Jeff McNeil in a big spot. He knocked both runners in with a rope to right, one hop off the wall for a double. He took third on the throw home and scored when slumping Robinson Cano hit a hard two-out double to right. Michael Conforto followed that with another pulled two-bagger to widen the lead to 6-1. Wilson Ramos was walked intentionally and Wright left the mound having thrown 25 pitches in the inning and 77 on the night. Johnny Venters came on to face Smith, who drew an unintentional walk. That brought Broxton around again, this time with the bases loaded, but he struck out to end it.

Now it was up to Wheeler to hold a five-run lead for another three innings at least. He was mostly up to the task. Wheeler walked Freeman with two outs in the fifth and Acuna boomed a long double off the top of the right field fence, Freeman scoring the Braves’ second run easily. In six innings, Wheeler ended up surrendering six hits, walking three and striking out eight. With both Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz unavailable on this night, it would fall to Justin Wilson and Seth Lugo to preserve the lead. They acquitted themselves most admirably. Wilson took over in the seventh and retired Atlanta in order. In the top of the eighth, Nimmo led off with a double to right. Alonso finally got into the game to pinch hit for Wilson and busted his bat popping out. Nimmo was left at third, when McNeil grounded out and Amed Rosario struck out. Lugo came on in the eighth and gave up a bloop single to Acuna leading off. Markakis struck out and Dansby Swanson hit into a force play. Ozzie Albies rolled back to Lugo for out number three. After the Mets went out in the ninth — despite another walk to Ramos and a double by Conforto — Lugo struck out Tyler Flowers, got pinch hitter Johan Comargo on a grounder to second and Inciarte the same way to send the Mets to their hotel happy.

It’ll be Jason Vargas against Sean Newcomb tomorrow night from Cobb County.

6 comments for “Gut Reaction: Mets 6, Braves 2 (4/12/19)

  1. José
    April 12, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    I know that Canó is struggling right now with the bat, but he’ll come around. Meanwhile, he is a steadying force with his defense and veteran leadership on a team with lots of young guys, and I can’t think of anyone who is a better DP partner for Rosario

  2. Bloom
    April 13, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Cano is abt to break out. He had his swing back tonight.

  3. April 13, 2019 at 4:51 am

    Nimmo looked like himself for the first time this year and Wheeler’s start was a step in the right direction even if it wasn’t Wheeler of last year and Lugo looked dominant so three key guys stepped up, which is huge. The Mets offense is firing on al cylinders and could be the best Mets offensive team since 2015.

  4. Metsense
    April 13, 2019 at 8:09 am

    Gut reaction: I’ll take the performance last night of Wheeler anytime. He had a quality start ,6 Innings pitched and 8 strikeouts.
    It was a good night for Callaway also. He used his Bullpen effectively and switched his lineup perfectly. I do like his technique of resting his players and keeping them fresh.( although I would prefer Alonso playing every time against a division rival or potential playoff team).
    McNeil and Conforto are rolling along effortlessly.
    Broxton with his fourth stolen base has him tied for the NL lead. Broxton and Rosario at the bottom of the order brings another dimension to the lineup. Speed.
    A split in the next two games will win the series!

    • Chris B
      April 13, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Keon Broxton has 21 plate appearances and has gotten on base 7 times. He has four steals and one caught stealing. Those are some incredible ratios.

      In 2017 he hit 20 HRs, 1 out of every 23 plate appearances. Once that power comes around it will be hard to justify Lagares getting any time, since Broxton has better speed and a comp glove.

  5. April 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Mickey’s going to give Cano and his .565 OPS a day off at some point, right? I know there’s been off days but it’s probably not a good idea to have the oldest guy on the club play in every game.

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