Mad Max: Fury (on the) Road leads Mets to huge victory in biggest game of season
Max Scherzer dominates in New York's series-opening win. Plus, how everyone stepped up in the Mets' biggest game of the year to date.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets defeated the Braves by a score of 4-1 at Truist Park on Monday night (box)
RHP Max Scherzer dominated in the victory, allowing just one run on nine hits with no walks and nine strikeouts over seven innings
2B Luis Guillorme hit his second home run of the season (both against Braves RHP Darren O’Day) and just the fourth of his career
Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso combined to go 5-for-13 with a double, two RBI, two walks and three runs scored
RHP Edwin Díaz pitched for the third consecutive night and struck out the side on just 11 pitches while converting the save
The Mets are now 3-2 vs the Braves this season and increased their NL East lead to 2.5 games with the victory
New York ended Braves LHP Max Fried’s nine-game winning streak
Former Mets 2B/DH Robinson Canó went 2-for-4 with two singles in his first game against his old club
Pete Alonso announced that he will be competing in the 2022 Home Run Derby as he seeks his third consecutive title
Roster Moves 📰
2B Jeff McNeil placed on paternity list
OF Travis Jankowski activated from injured list
Who’s Hot 🔥
Since returning from the injured list, Max Scherzer has allowed just one run while striking out 20 batters with zero walks over 13 innings pitched
With two more runs batted in on Monday night, Pete Alonso is just two shy of David Wright’s franchise record 74 first-half RBI (2006)
Since his last blown save on May 24th, Edwin Díaz is 9-for-9 in save situations with a 0.52 ERA, negative 0.50 FIP and 39 strikeouts with just three walks in 17.2 innings pitched
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (54-33) vs. Braves (52-26)
Where: Truist Park — Atlanta, GA
Starters: LHP David Peterson (5-1, 3.48 ERA) vs RHP Spencer Strider (4-2, 2.60 ERA)
When: 7:20 PM EST
Where to Watch: SNY
In their biggest game to-date, every Met stepped up 📝
There may not be such a thing as a “must-win” game in the month of July, but boy did that sure feel like one.
On Monday night, the Mets walked into Atlanta facing their biggest game of the season to-date. Despite playing over .500 baseball for the last five-plus weeks, New York has seen what was once a sizable division lead in the NL East nearly vaporize. On June 1st, their lead was a season-high 10.5 games over Atlanta, but at the onset of this week’s series opener it was down to just 1.5 games over their division foes.
Making matters worse, the Mets entered this series struggling on offense and were going to be without three starters from their lineup as James McCann (placed on the IL) and Starling Marte (day-to-day) were injured over the weekend and Jeff McNeil was placed on the paternity list prior to Monday night’s game.
And while their de facto ace was due to take the hill, the Mets were going to need contributions from their entire roster to pull out the victory…
Mad Max: Fury (on the) Road 🔥
Opening game of the series. Slim margin in the division. All eyes on you.
These are the very moments why you sign Max Scherzer to a record three-year, $130 million contract in the offseason and man, oh man, did he ever deliver on Monday night.
In just his second start since coming off the injured list, Scherzer dominated one of the hottest offenses in all of baseball from start-to-finish. He kept hitters off balance, off the base paths and, for most of the night, off the scoreboard by mixing in his pitches and pounding the strike zone with the same bulldog mentality and mound presence everyone attributes to a Max Scherzer performance. Over seven innings, the New York righty allowed just one run on three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts in a winning effort.
He was everything you could have asked for and more, delivering a vintage, tone-setting performance on the mound to kick-off a massive series for the Mets as the first half of the season comes to a close.
Louie, Louie, Louie, Louuuuuieeeee 🎶
There goes that man again!
With Jeff McNeil unavailable to start the series, everyone’s favorite bearded uber utility man once again found himself thrust into a big opportunity and once again… he came through in a big way. Luis Guillorme, starting at second base, reached base safely three times on the night, going 2-for-4 with a home run, double and two RBI on the night.
The second baseman was seemingly in the middle of everything last night, driving home a run as a part of the club’s early two-run rally in the third inning, and then coming up with an absolutely monumental solo homer to lead off the eighth, just moments after the Braves had thought they’d captured some momentum with a home run of their own that briefly made it a 2-1 ballgame.
It cannot be overstated how big that home run was in that spot. Guillorme has been a key factor for this club all season long, filling in at various spots around the diamond and producing at the plate, but he has likely not had a more important moment than that all year. With Austin Riley’s homer off Scherzer cutting the lead in half and injecting life back into a sold-out Atlanta crowd, momentum could have fully shifted to the other side. I know for a fact that there weren’t many Mets fans feeling good about the situation following that long ball.
But on just the second pitch of the very next inning, Guillorme flipped the script, hitting just the fourth home run of his major league career to get that run right back, resulting in an eruption from Scherzer and the rest of the Mets’ dugout. Ultimately, it may have been the biggest hit of the night for the club.
The big boys delivered, too 💪🏽
While the Mets got plenty of production out of Guillorme, they did get a lot out of the few premiere bats left in their lineup, as well.
Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and Pete Alonso, batting 1-2-3 in the team’s order, combined to reached base seven times with a double, three RBI and two runs scored as they set the tone for the offense.
In big series you need contributions from all around your roster to give yourself the best chance to win, but when the lights are at their brightest, you really need your marquee players to step up.
Between Lindor, Alonso and Scherzer, the Mets got every ounce of that on Monday night. Speaking of which, there’s one more player that stepped up in the biggest of moments…
Sound the damn trumpets 🎺🎺🎺
Edwin Díaz, man. Edwin. Effing. Díaz.
What else can you say about this guy? After one of the rockiest seasons we’ve ever seen out of a closer in his debut season with the club in 2019, Mets fans have been on a very slow journey to regain their trust in the closer. Finally, though, in 2022… that trust is as strong as ever.
Before our very eyes, Díaz has not only returned to his Seattle form but has surpassed it by becoming one of the most dominant relievers we have ever seen around these parts.
Pitching for the third consecutive game for the first time this season, Díaz absolutely toyed with the heart of the Braves lineup and made mincemeat out of Matt Olson, Austin Riley and Marcell Ozuna with three consecutive strikeouts on just 11 pitches. This game had been shaky and nerve-racking for a majority of the night but when Díaz took the mound in the ninth, it no longer felt as if it were in any doubt… because it wasn’t.
After yet another dominant performance on Monday night, Díaz has struck out an absolutely absurd 51.4 percent of the batters he’s faced for the entire season; that’s just stupid.
It’s performances like these that win games in pennant races, and it’s a big reason why the Mets won their first big test of the summer in Atlanta last night.
Down on the Farm 🌾
All Mets affiliates were off on Monday.
Around the League 🚩
The Phillies lost to the Cardinals and will now be without JT Realmuto, Alec Bohm, Aaron Nola and Kyle Gibson in Toronto due to their own decisions to not get vaccinated
Cardinals DH Albert Pujols passed Hall of Famer Stan Musial on the all-time extra-base hits list and announced that he would be participating in the Home Run Derby
Braves CF Ronald Acuña Jr. will also be participating in the Home Run Derby
The Royals swept a doubleheader from the Tigers, resulting in tying a season-high three-game winning streak for Kansas City
Small correction. Escobar's bloop single did not drive in a run. The RBIs in the second inning came from Alonso and Guillorme's ground out which beat the replay