Well, this series obviously didn’t go particularly well. Mets pitching shut down the Braves again in a 5-2 win, taking four out of five in the series and ballooning their lead to 6 1/2 games in the NL East.
Jacob deGrom was taking just his second start since returning from yearlong injury. If you thought he was gonna be rusty, well….not so much. He was perfect through 5 2/3 innings before allowing a walk to Ehire Adrianza and a two-run homer to Dansby Swanson on the next batter. That was pretty much the Braves’ only rally of the night, and it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Mets, who scored four runs off Spencer Strider in 2 2/3 innings.
Everything fell apart for Strider in the third, keyed by the Mets’ very irritating penchant for blooping hits all over the place. An infield single by Brandon Nimmo, a bloop single to left by Francisco Lindor and a ground-ball double off the third-base bag got the inning started for the Mets, who now had a 2-0 lead. A Daniel Vogelbach walk and a Mark Canha double (on a ball that was actually hit hard, for a change) doubled the New York lead and chased Strider from the game. With deGrom pitching like he was, that meant the game was pretty much over. The home side added a fifth run on a wild pitch in the fifth after a leadoff double from Jeff McNeil.
So, what does this mean? Well, as I said, this wasn’t the way we wanted this to go. We’re now 6 1/2 games back and winning the division, while not out of the question, isn’t an especially likely prospect anymore. We’ve still got seven home games left with the Mets, so if we take a minimum of five of those games, that drops us back to needing to make up 3 1/2 games elsewhere. Six would make us only need to have to make up an extra game-and-a-half. But we’re talking about taking six of seven from a team that’s taken six of the last eight from us.
In any event, we’re still in good shape for the wild card race. We’re currently five ahead of Milwaukee for a playoff spot and three ahead of a tie between Philadelphia and San Diego for the second wild-card spot (the Padres have not been good this week despite everybody crowning them after the trade deadline the other day). So the playoffs are still well in sight. The Braves do have to put this series behind them quickly and get back to playing good baseball when they get to Boston on Tuesday. A four-gamer in Miami (over three days) follows next weekend before the Mets come to Truist Park for a four-game return engagement.