Oh, what might have been…

The Mets looked primed to take a major step towards securing the NL East Division title. Looks can be deceiving. For ordinary mortals, Jacob deGrom’s stat line would be impressive: six innings, five hits, no walks, 11 strikeouts, three earned runs. That last bit was the problem. deGrom was rocked for three home runs – the first time that’s happened since 2019 – in the fourth consecutive start in which he has not looked like himself. Austin Riley and Matt Olson tagged him for back-to-back shots, to center and right-centerfield in the second, Dansby Swanson sent a long swat to left-centerfield in the sixth.

The Mets got off quickly against Max Fried, scratching out a run in the top of the second on singles by Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar, aided and abetted by some defensive hijinks by Braves left fielder Eddie Rosario, and after a double play by heralded rookie Francisco Alvarez – more from him in a minute – a clutch base hit from Luis Guillorme.

After deGrom exited after six with a blood-blister, the Braves added on in the seventh off Tylor Megill. A leadoff single by Olsen and a ringing double off the fence by ol’ buddy Travis d’Arnaud put runners on second and third with nobody out. With trumpet sounds echoing all around Truist Park, William Contreras popped out to first. Rosario then sent a fly ball to right center, just deep enough to score Olsen. Orlando Arcia then hit a double of his own for the fifth Atlanta tally.

Tomas Nido tried to wake up the somnolent New York bats with a rope into the first row of the left field stands with one out in the eighth. It almost worked. In the ninth, facing supreme closer Kenley Jansen, Francisco Lindor struck out leading off. Mark Canha then provided his specialty: he got hit by a pitch. On ball one to McNeil, Canha took second on defensive indifference. McNeil roped a liner up the middle and Canha crossed to third. Hero Escobar worked out a walk to load the bases, bringing up Alvarez. The kid is twenty years old, in his first major league game. He’d hit the ball hard twice: that double play in the second and a fly to deep center in the seventh. Here he was with the tying run on first in a game with huge playoff implications. Understandably, he was jumping out of his shoes to give the Mets the lead. Predictably, he struck out on three big swings, the last of which sent his bat to the Mets on deck circle. That brought up Tyler Naquin, who had come into the game to take over in right field when Guillorme was pinch-hit for in the eighth. In what was close to an epic at bat, he took a ball on the first pitch, fouled off four in a row, took another ball, then swung through one of Jansen’s patented cutters for the ballgame.

It’ll be Max Scherzer vs. 20-game winner Kyle Wright tomorrow night as the Mets will take another stab at securing the NL East tiebreaker.

13 comments on “Gut Reaction: Braves 5 Mets 2 (9/30/22)

  • TexasGusCC

    I don’t like the look of the lineup with Alonso in the #2 position. He’s not a dual threat type of hitter that belongs in that spot. As for deGrom, we all want to win all the time, but it seems like whenever deGrom has a bad outing it’s all about this injury or that injury. Sometimes it gets old hearing how there’s always a health reason for why things didn’t go well for him that night. And he just can’t say look, they kicked my butt. The 11 strikeouts are great, but he’s facing a team that strikes out alot and hits alot of home runs, and that’s exactly what they did to him. He only gave up three runs in six innings, but that’s a 4.50 ERA, and that’s not good enough when you’re facing a pitcher with a lower ERA than you have.

  • Metsense

    Gut Reaction: The Braves did what they they had to do. They hit homeruns but they also strikeout a lot. deGrom was human. Megill didn’t do his job in a key game. May did his job striking out Acuna . Rodriguez got the 8th and did his job completing a fine September for him. They had an opportunity the the 9th. I was surprised that Showalter didn’t bat for Alvarez with Vogelbach because he always has done that when given the circumstance, power hitter for power hitter. Showalter had his own Gut Reaction but failed. Alvarez failed and Naquin battle but lost and Jansen won but threw 24 pitches. The best team won last night. Let’s get them tonight. LGM

  • Mike W

    Not surprised. Braves are hungry, playing at home and are an excellent team. They turned up their aggressiveness for the game, and it worked.

    Mets are plagued with streaks of low output. You probably won’t win with only two runs against the Braves. Let’s hope that changes today. Winning at least one game is a must.

    deGrom hasn’t been himself. Wondering what ailment that we don’t know about is ailing him. It seems plausible. I really worry if we resign him to a huge deal, that we won’t get premium production. I’d much rather have a starter who has a 3.50 ERA at half the price of deGrom and sign Judge over Nimmo.

  • T.J.

    The bats will need to show up in Atlanta despite the big dogs going every game. That concerns me.

    I agree with Gus to some extent…it is always something with deGrom…not blaming him, but this is the reality and after the season it will be very interesting to see his value determination.

    I was fine with Alvarez hitting in that spot. He had a lousy AB, so did Lindor in the key leadoff AB.

    If they don’t get this Max game they will be in deep do do.

  • Woodrow

    Need to win at least one, if sherzer and baser can’t do that now they probably won’t do it in the playoffs. Gotta think they win at least one and then it’s the Nats. I still like their chances.

  • ChrisF

    The Mets have run out of gas. This Jekyll and Hyde play will not get it done. 2 game streaks is not enough. No consistency.

    DeGrom is either broken or he’s tipping as the HR rate is so big now that something is going on.

    Mets shit the bed right when they needed to stand tall. The offense is just a hot mess. I agree with Gus, now is not the time to bat Pete second. Strange move by Buck. And welcome to the Show Alvarez…most find it a pretty big step up from the minors.

    • MattyMets

      Chris F – I find it very curious how the Braves hitters were laying off a lot of good sliders and feasting on fastballs. Either deGrom was tipping or they were banging trash cans.

  • Aging Bull

    A disappointing game to be sure. Not enough magic to take advantage of Jansen. I agree that having Alonso in the 2-hole is not ideal. We really miss Marte there.

    JDG is definitely a concern. In his last 4 starts, he’s thrown 21 innings, with 20 hits, 4 walks, but 6 HRs. He’s also K’d 39 during that time, which is an insane 16.7Ks/9 innings. His stuff is still lethal, it’s that he cannot consistently locate his pitches. When he leaves the occasional pitch over the plate, ML hitters are tanking him. His 8 of his 14 earned runs have been via the HR. His WHIP is still an near-elite 1.14 but nothing like he’s been doing but his ERA is a whopping 6.00.*

    He should definitely go back in the rotation order. Objectively, one could put him 3rd behind Bassitt. I think he may be pitching himself out of an almost certain long-term lucrative contract offer from Cohen, but that’s a discussion for when the hot-stove is afire.

    * this 6.00 ERA is so egregious I’ve triple-checked my math and I sure hope I made a mistake…

    • ChrisF

      That 6 ERA looks exactly right just on spec. Im so sick about hear about Ks as if the number of Ks somehow equals a win.

      Strikeout or HR. Well HRs score runs.

      The Oakland start was a catastrophe…but it clearly wasnt a one-off. Without real Jake, there is little hope for a successful post season.

      • Aging Bull

        I know, right? Agree 1000%. Writers and often even GKR tout the strikeout totals. For me, it just indicates that his stuff is still nasty. He can’t miss over the plate though, and I think that’s been his issue. Could be mechanics but I doubt it. Ron would have called out something. The blister could explain it, but over 4 games? This leaves a mental glitch, which we can all relate to but we just don’t see that from Jake. Regardless, a lapse(s) in concentration in these games is just not going to cut it.

  • Bob P

    Tonight is the reason they signed Scherzer. I hope that his competitiveness flips the script of what we as Mets fans have become accustomed to.

    • T.J.

      Agreed, but I don’t think Buck is going to pencil him in as the DH. He will needs the bats, and Wright has been pretty good, especially at home.

  • MattyMets

    Your Ferarri might be the fastest car on the road but when it’s in the shop, my Honda will get there faster. DeGrom is the best pitcher in baseball when at 100% only.

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