Braves Make Poor House Guests, Thrash Mets 15-2

It’s tough to say that the Atlanta Braves’ offense needed a “get right game,” considering the team had scored five runs or more in five its last eight games.

Yet, that’s exactly what Friday’s 15-2 series-opening win felt like for the Braves (30-21), who pounded the host New York Mets (23-28) for 17 hits, including six home runs.

Marcell Ozuna started the dinger parade in the top half of the second with a 445-foot blast – his 15th of the season – that was part of a four-run frame. The Braves fully broke the game open in a six-run fourth inning, which included homers by Travis D’Arnaud (8) and the the first of two by Ozzie Albies (5).

Austin Riley (8) and Ronald Acuna Jr. (12) also found the bleachers for the visitors. Freddie Freeman, on a quest to win his first MVP award, went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles and drove in two runs to bring his season total to 48. The Braves’ first baseman also pushed his batting average on the season to .359 and now boasts an OPS of 1.129.

Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall were, in fact, the only Braves’ starters not to record a multi-hit night, going a combined 0-for-10 with four strikeouts. Duvall did reach base twice via walk and was one of eight Braves to score a run.

Luke Jackson also had a chance to shake off some bad vibes, pitching two scoreless innings of relief. Other than a one-batter outing on Sept. 5, Jackson had not posted a scoreless effort since Aug. 28, and Friday was the first multi-inning scoreless appearance for Jackson since Aug. 3.

Heading into the night, a major storyline for the game was the return of Max Fried. The 26-year-old lefthander had been on the IL since Sept. 6 with back issues, and as much as the Braves’ rotation has struggled, he was badly needed close to the form we saw earlier in the year. Fried (7-0, 1.96 ERA) delivered on Friday, tossing five innings while surrendering just one run on three hits and two walks.

Furthermore, the velocity was back on his fastball for at least part of the outing.

That heat didn’t last, as Fried’s fastball velocity dipped back down in the fourth and fifth innings, but it was good to see that some of the gas had returned.

Playoff Update

The Braves, of course, remained atop the National League’s East Division with nine games remaining. The Philadelphia Phillies (26-25) took advantage of a doubleheader with the skidding Toronto Blue Jays, sweeping the pair to pull within 4 of the Braves. The Miami Marlins(26-24) split a doubleheader with the Washington Nationals to land 3.5 games of Atlanta.

The Braves are currently in line for the third seed in the NL Playoffs. If the season ended after Friday, that would pit Atlanta against either the Cincinnati Reds or St. Louis Cardinals. Those two teams are tied for second place in the NL Central and are virtually tied in division record as well.

To be frank, calculating magic numbers this season – with no play-in games, no interdivision head-to-head results and varying numbers of games played – is not for the faint of heart. Twitter user @AtlMagicNumber has attempted it, though, so kudos to them.

20 thoughts on “Braves Make Poor House Guests, Thrash Mets 15-2”

  1. Quick quiz: the Braves currently lead MLB in runs per game. Have they done this before? If so, when? How about year(s) they’ve led the NL in runs per game?

  2. @1–the Braves led the NL in runs in 1973, but without looking it up I’m not sure they led MLB. Ever since the DH, the MLB team leader is usually an AL team.

  3. They led the NL in runs/game in both 1973 and 2003, but led all of MLB only in ’73. Ironic, since that was the year the AL adopted the DH. And coincidental, since this is the first year of full-time NL DH.

    There were three other years in which the Braves led the NL in r/g, if anyone cares to hazard a guess.

  4. I just looked it up. The 73 braves (with the three 40 homer guys plus Baker and Garr) did in fact lead MLB in runs scored. But the 2003 juggernaut, the best offensive team of the Cox era, finished second to the Red Sox in runs scored.

  5. @3

    It’s on the Fox broadcast network at 7 p.m. (I believe first pitch is at 7:07). It is a regional broadcast with the White Sox-Reds game being the other one, so you may be out of luck (at least as far as linear TV…it’ll still be on MLB.TV) if you’re in the Midwest.

  6. I thought I remembered, and then just confirmed, that the very first ATL Braves led the league in runs scored. Turns out they also led all of MLB that year.

  7. What Ozzie Albies adds to this lineup is extraordinary. They were scoring runs in bunches even during the weeks that Acuna and Albies were both out, especially thanks to Dansby and Duvall stepping up. But with Acuna and Albies and Ozuna all together in the lineup, plus d’Arnaud and Dansby and Duvall and Riley, it’s just a devastating lineup.

    Parenthetically, a renewed wish to all on this board and particularly those who are observing today’s holiday, heartfelt wishes to all of you and all of your family and loved ones for a fulfilling, healthy, and happy new year, with greater joy than the last year has brought. And hope for healing to all those who have suffered, or whose loved ones have suffered, particularly those on this board who have shared their stories with us. Thinking of you guys.

  8. Thanks, Alex. The year 5780 has been pretty lousy all the way around, including the awful news in the last hours of the year about RBG. But a new year brings new hope!

  9. It is time, though, for Snit to switch up Swanson and Albies in the lineup. With Dansby slumping and Albies streaking, Ozzie is better at 5th. With Dansby’s speed, he can play the same role at 9th that Ozzie did. And then maybe he’ll get hot again. After all, he did his best hitting at lead-off.

  10. I really don’t want to play the Reds in the first round. They are about the hottest team in baseball, can bash with the best, and have Bauer and Castillo at the head of their rotation with Iglasias and Bradley in the bullpen.

    Speaking of which. Bauer is the big fish this offseason. He’s proven he’s back in top form this year. I’d forgive AA all his other inactivity over the last couple of years if he could land Bauer.

  11. I am really drooling over the possibility of having a rotation of Bauer, Soroka, Fried, Anderson, Wright (or whoever is next to make the grade) to go with this lineup and bullpen (I’d bring back Greene but not Melancon unless he was cheap). If we then swap out Ender for Pache and find a big enough bat to replace Ozuna (or keep Ozuna), we’ll be every bit as good as the Dodgers.

    Aren’t we really now down to a Bauer type being the “one player we need” to get us over the top?

  12. Last Night’s Game: There are few things better than beating the Mets like that while listening to the Mets radio broadcast. Ed Coleman (a really good radio beat-reporter) was filling in for Howie Rose (celebrating the holiday), but it didn’t really diminish the experience.

    As always, they’re a highly entertaining & unfailingly honest radio crew, but there’s often a woe-is-us/our-conquerors-are-so-good vibe to the broadcast that I don’t really hear anywhere else. When it comes to the Braves, they seem hard-wired to accept a doomy fate.

    It certainly connects with the psychology of the club’s fanbase — but it can also make fans of the opposing team slightly giddy. Always good to hear how we’re perceived from the other side. Last night was Road Runner vs. Wile E. Coyote.

    The ’73 Team: That was one of my all-time faves. What a wrecking-crew lineup. If only we could’ve somehow matched that ’73 team’s offense with the ’74 team’s pitching.

    Redlegs: I’d prefer not to play the Reds in the 1st round (bring on the Cards), but if that’s who we draw… fine. Let’s just beat ’em.

    I’d also prefer not to have Trevor Bauer on my team. He can pitch, but I like him better when I can more easily ignore him.

    And happy new year to the M.O.T.

  13. The thought of playing the Reds doesn’t bother me much. Could we lose? Sure…but we shouldn’t.

    You wanna fret over a possible playoff matchup? Entertain the thought of the Marlins catching us for the division title (we do have four games with them next week, so they could catch up quickly if we don’t split the series or better) and us being the fifth seed. And we pretty much undoubtedly would be the fifth seed if we finish second…we’re not catching the Padres for the four seed and the second-place team in the Central is not catching us for the five. That would mean we go to San Diego for the three-game series in the first round, then probably play the Dodgers in the Division Series if we get through that. Now that’s a bad playoff draw!

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