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Mets make a statement in their series win against the Braves by exploiting their key weakness
The Braves went a combined 0-for-7 against the Mets with runners in scoring position during their three-game series
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets defeated the Braves by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday afternoon at Truist Park (Box)
The Mets scored five of their runs on Wednesday on the strength of three home runs - a solo shot from Eduardo Escobar in the second, a three-run homer from Francisco Lindor in the third, and a solo home run from Mark Canha in the sixth
Chris Bassitt was outstanding over six innings, allowing just a run on six hits with six strikeouts
The Mets improved to 4-3 over the Braves this season, and pushed them back to 2.5 games out in the National League East. they’re 27-19 on the road, 24-14 during the day, 8-5 in July, 11-3-1 in road series, 12-3 in rubber games, 40-4 when scoring five or more runs, 29-12 when the starter goes six innings or more, and 28-12 against the National League East.
Jeff McNeil (paternity list) might return in time for the game against the Cubs in Chicago on Thursday
Injury Updates 🏥
Starling Marte (groin tightness) worked out at Truist Park on Wednesday and could return to the lineup against the Cubs on Thursday
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in scapula) will make a rehab start for Triple-A Syracuse at NBT Bank Stadium on Thursday (game can be streamed for free via at 6:35 PM EDT via milb.com)
Roster Moves 📰
RHP Jake Reed claimed off waivers by the Dodgers
Who’s Hot 🔥
Francisco Lindor currently has a seven-game hitting streak. He’s hitting .281/.281/.625 with a triple, three home runs and seven RBI during that span - he went 5-for-14 (.357), with a triple, home run, four RBI and three runs scored during their series in Atlanta
Luis Guillorme current has a five-game hitting streak. He’s hitting .471/.550/.824 with three doubles, a home run and three RBI during that span
Mets starting pitchers have a 1.83 ERA over their last seven games
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (55-34) vs. Cubs (34-54)
Where: Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Starters: RHP Carlos Carrasco (9-4, 4.55 ERA) vs RHP Keegan Thompson (7-3, 3.04 ERA)
When: 8:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Mets made a statement against the Braves by exploiting their key weakness 📝
Its only July, and there are 73 games remaining on the regular season schedule, but the Mets left Atlanta having won their biggest series to-date during the 2022 season.
And they did so while a making statement in the process.
As they did in their series against the Dodgers last month, they demonstrated over the course of this series they are as capable a contender as anyone in the league. And they did so without both Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil with Luis Guillorme batting cleanup for them in the rubber game of this series on Wednesday. This series had higher stakes given it was the World Champion and a divisional opponent who had erased eight games off the deficit in a matter of five weeks.
The Mets were tasked with not only leaving Atlanta with some kind of lead in the division, but to leave them with the impression they will be a force to be reckoned with down the stretch of the season and unlike in prior years, won’t fade away over the final months of the season.
Mission accomplished, and then some.
It all started on Monday with Max Scherzer who set the tone and the roadmap for handling the might of the Atlanta lineup. The themes of the week were whiff and chase, two areas of vulnerability with the Braves and Scherzer started the series off by inducing 21 swings and misses among the 93 pitches he threw. Despite taking a loss, David Peterson only made one mistake during his strong start on Tuesday and induced 14 swings and misses with only nine balls in play allowed. It was more of the same for Chris Bassitt on Wednesday afternoon when he induced 17 swings and misses among the 99 pitches he threw.
In doing so, the Mets were able to exploit and put on full display the Braves key offensive weakness. Their ability to score unquestionably depends on their ability to hit home runs, and while the Mets did allow six home runs in total to the Braves in this series, they were unable to produce runs in any other manner throughout the three games.
In fact, the Braves went hitless with runners in scoring position in all three games combined (0-for-7 in total). They didn’t give the Braves a lot of opportunities to score, and the Braves were unable to capitalize in the opportunities they did have in large measure. That’s a credit to the Mets and their stinginess on the mound but also in their ability to master the game plan.
Then there’s the offense, which on paper is less formidable to that of the Braves powerful and balanced lineup, even if Starling Marte and Jeff McNeil had been available during the three games. But the reality is both teams have scored nearly an identical number of runs and both are averaging 4.7 runs per game this season.
But they’re doing it in different ways.
The Braves do it mostly one dimensionally, depending on power and big innings in their process. The Mets don’t have the same power capacity as the Braves - they do it with a more contact-oriented approach while grinding at-bats out with deep counts in their process. And they depend on that contact-approach to move baserunners around since they don’t possess a lot of speed and can become station-to-station at times due to a lack of power as a result.
Both teams average a similar number of pitches per plate appearance - the Mets average 3.88 pitches per plate appearance while the Braves see 3.9 pitches per plate appearance. But the Braves strikeout at nearly a 25 percent clip while the Mets only strikeout 20 percent of the time. And that’s thanks in large measure to Atlanta swinging at pitches outside the strike zone 34.8 percent of the time, while the Mets only chase 32.7 percent of the time.
All of that worked to the Mets advantage and was a huge reason why the Mets were able to stymie Atlanta’s offense in this series.
Where the Mets are vulnerable and unquestionably inferior to the Braves is in the bullpen, and that did get exposed in this series. And while the Mets did hit four home runs in this series, their .400 team slugging percentage is middle of the road. Both of those are areas team president Sandy Alderson told the New York Post this week the club is looking to address ahead of the August 2 trade deadline, specifically among their designated hitters.
I would certainly be remiss if I didn’t offer credit to Francisco Lindor, who had a phenomenal series on both sides of the ball and in addition to the starting pitching, was a difference maker for them throughout the three games.
This was arguably the most meaningful series he has played as a Met over the last two years and he left Atlanta having gone 5-for-14 with a triple, homer, four RBI and two runs scored during the three games. And that homer came on Wednesday in the three-run variety, completely taking the wind out of Atlanta’s sails and sending the Mets on their way to this all-important series win.
In other words, he was the star the Mets needed him to be when it mattered most.
Make no mistake - Lindor is having an excellent year all around. The batting average certainly isn’t where he would like it to be but we don’t live in a world where that defines a player’s performance anymore. Lindor’s 16 home runs are second among National League shortstops and his 64 RBI are second overall in MLB.
And there’s no duo in any lineup in the game more productive than the Lindor/Pete Alonso combination.
He doesn’t get the credit or recognition he deserves for what he has been for the Mets this season. Yes, he’s productive and there’s a legit argument he has All-Star credentials, but like Scherzer, Lindor is a spiritual leader in his own right and these are the intangibles not quantifiable statistically.
Now it’s onto Chicago where the Mets will be playing a second division team. Of course, it’s Wrigley Field and trips to the Windy City always seem to be an adventure for them in good years and bad. But its an opportunity for them to finish the first half strong, soak up some more necessary wins and button things up for the pennant drive starting next Friday.
And away we go!
Down on the Farm 🌾
Mark Vientos (3B, No. 5 Prospect, Triple-A): 2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, 2 R
Khalil Lee (OF, No. 7 Prospect, Triple-A): 3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
Travis Blankenhorn (OF, Triple-A): 2-for-4, 2 RBI, R
Brett Baty (3B, No. 2 Prospect, Double-A): 3-for-5, HR, RBI, 1 R
Stanley Consuegra (OF, Single-A): 4-for-5, 3 2B, HR, 5 RBI
Omar De Los Santos (OF, Low-A): 4-for-5, 3 R, 2B, 2 HR, 5 RBI (doubleheader)
Syracuse Mets INF Gosuke Katoh has been named the International League Player of the Week for the week of July 4-July 11. Katoh hit .435 (10-for-23) with eight RBIs, four home runs, three doubles, and a .519 on-base percentage at Buffalo.
Around the League 🚩
The Orioles won their tenth game in a row and are now 45-44 on the year thanks to a convincing 7-1 win over the Cubs at Wrigley Field
The Mariners won their tenth game in a row in a 2-1 pitchers duel over the Nationals
The Twins walked off Josh Hader and the Brewers thanks to a ninth inning three-run home run from José Miranda
The Yankees edged the Reds 7-6 with a run in the tenth inning in a back-and-forth contest, but lost Luis Severino to a shoulder injury
After firing their manager Charlie Montoyo earlier in the day, the Blue Jays scorched the depleted Phillies 8-2 at Rogers Centre to send them to their fourth loss in a row and nine games behind the Mets in the National League East
Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks will rest his injured shoulder for at least 2-3 weeks before being re-evaluated
The Giants front office has yet to determine whether they’ll be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline (SF Chronicle) although the Giants and the Dodgers have expressed interest in acquiring INF Brandon Drury from the Reds (SNY)
The Royals will place ten unvaccinated players on the restricted list ahead of their trip to Toronto to play the Blue Jays