As I watched a dispirited, going-through-the-motions Mets squad tonight — well, last night, now — I remarked to my brother, “Hey, I’ve seen this team before!” It was the Atlanta Braves, circa 1985 — one depressed-looking righthanded-hitting superstar, an injured star who probably shouldn’t be playing, and six guys who may or may not belong in the big leagues but who in combination are deadly to their team’s chances. Not fun in Flushing, I fear.
The Braves jumped on the Mets early, scoring two in the first as Omar Infante singled, Jason Heyward doubled to the gap, and Martin Prado followed with another double to score both of them. Prado was later thrown out trying to score on a Eric Hinske groundout, but so far, so good. In the second, they scored two again, with Infante singling in Rick Ankiel and then scoring on Heyward’s second double. 4-0.
That was more than enough tonight, as Tommy Hanson finally had some good luck on balls in play. He only struck out three, but was getting a lot of fly balls, mostly routine outs to center. Ankiel made one spectacular catch, but most of the rest was pretty easy. Hanson allowed only one hit, a double by David Wright (“It’s not your fault, David. Relax.”) in the fourth, and walked only one over seven innings.
The Mets got a run against Jonny Venters in the eighth, with a walk, a groundout (which if Venters hadn’t deflected it might have been a GIDP) and a single by, of all people, Luis Hernandez. Billy Wagner got three outs on ten pitches in the ninth for the save.
Heyward was 4-4 again; the Braves had eleven hits in all. They could have scored more, but for a spectacular episode of Snitkering with two out in the fourth, when Rick Ankiel was thrown out trying to score on an Infante single to center. Before the ball even hit the ground, I remarked, “He can’t score on that.” And he couldn’t. With Heyward on deck; did I mention that he was 4-4?