There were a lot of great things that came from the game last night between the Mets and division rival Atlanta Braves in Suntrust Park. It was a matchup featuring Steven Matz for the Mets, who was coming off a very solid performance but only 5 innings. Yesterday, they really need him to be able to go deeper into the game.
It was Kevin Gausman on the hill for the Braves. He is considered the ace of the staff since Mike Foltynewicz is currently on the shelf with an injury.
Steven Matz allowed a first-inning run after a Ronald Acuna RBI triple, which put the Braves up 1-0 early on.
Young Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, who has had a much different approach at the plate to begin this year, looks significantly more confident and much more patient. His new veteran teammate Robinson Cano said that he thinks Rosario will be a star someday.
Rosario backed up Cano’s comments last night by coming to the plate in the top half of the 2nd inning with two men on and 1 out. Already down 1-0, he absolutely clobbered a ball to right center for a 3-run shot to give the Mets a 3-1 lead early on.
Matz came out for the bottom half of the 2nd and he retired the first man he faced, Dansby Swanson. The next man to the plate was Johan Camargo. Camargo, in just his second big league season, had a very nice 2018 season for the Braves and a lot of fans believed he was set to be the third basemen of the future. That was until the Braves went out and signed veteran third basemen Josh Donaldson. Camargo is still included in the Braves future plans, but for now, he seems to be a platoon utility guy for the Braves.
Tonight his bat in the lineup came to life. He roped a screaming line drive to left field that barely cleared the left field wall for a solo home run to cut the Braves deficit to just 1-run. It was 3-2 New York.
Matz locked in after that home run and really started dealing. He retired the next 13 batters he faced, the Braves couldn’t buy a hit through the next 3 innings. Matz got through 6 innings with a final line score of 6 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, just 1 walk, and 8 strikeouts. Matz is beginning to prove that he can stay healthy and now he is showing Mets fans they have another top-notch pitcher in their already scary rotation.
In the top half of the 7th inning, Brandon Nimmo started it off with a 4 pitch walk. This wasn’t a good move with slugging first basemen Pete Alonso lurking in the on-deck circle. He came to the plate with a 0-2 night while adding a walk and changed that stat line in a hurry. Alonso took a 95 mph sinker that was thrown slightly up in the zone and absolutely pulverized it.
Line drive to dead center field, the exit velocity on the ball was 118 mph, the hardest ball hit by any Mets player in stat cast exit velocity existence. The ball traveled a whopping 454 feet, and when it finally landed, the Mets had a 4-run lead in the 7th.
Ronald Acuna Jr added a big fly of his own in the bottom of the 8th. This ball, believe it or not, actually traveled further than mammoth of a home run by Alonso. Acuna took a flat changeup from Mets reliever Luis Avilan and sent it 462 feet. The Braves now trailed the Mets 6-3.
Edwin Diaz had his chance at a save in the 9th inning. His stuff hasn’t been as untouchable as the Mets would like, but he’s been getting the job done. He had a 3-run lead to work with in the 9th. Tyler Flower led off the 9th with a single back up the middle. Matt Joyce then pinch hit for the pitcher and struck out swinging. Ozzie Albies and his new 7-year $35 million dollar extension, flew out to left field and it was all of a sudden 2 outs with just 1 on and veteran former Allstar Josh Donaldson approaching. He crushed a double to right field putting runners on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and the Mets biggest nemesis, Freddie Freeman was up to the plate. Freeman has a career batting average against the Mets with runners in scoring position of .414, historically the highest number for any player against the Mets.
Mets fans were on the edge of their seat expecting the worst but hoping for the best. Freeman worked it to a full count and the crowd was on their feet before the delivery of the possible final pitch of the game.
The suspense was riding high… Strike 3! Freeman goes down swinging, and the Mets escaped to win the game 6-3 as Edwin Diaz records his 5th save on the season.
Steven Matz won his first decision in his last 12 appearances and the Mets were able to take game 1 on a long 11 game road trip. Tonight they are back in Atlanta for game 2 with Zach Wheeler pitching for the Mets and Kyle Wright on the mound for the Braves.