Mets Game 33: Loss to Braves
Braves 8 Mets 7
You can’t say the Mets didn’t fight back.
They erased three leads by Braves during the ballgame, but couldn’t convert a fourth, as Atlanta outlasted the Mets in a dozen innings.
The Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first frame, but the Mets tied it up in the bottom half. Then the Braves scored another pair in the third, but the Mets answered in the fourth with a Fernando Tatis grand slam to go up by two. The Braves scratched out one run in three of the next four innings to take the lead again, but the Mets came right back and tied it up in the bottom of the eighth. The games stayed that way until the 12th inning, when Martin Prado blasted a solo homer off losing pitcher Ken Takahashi. Unfortunately, the Mets were out of comeback juice for the day and thus the final score.
The Mets did rally in the bottom of the 12th, as Jose Reyes hit a leadoff double and was sacrificed to third by Luis Castillo. However, he was left stranded there as both Carlos Beltran and Gary Sheffield whiffed.
In a mysterious move, Bobby Cox removed starting pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes in the fourth inning with no outs, the bases loaded, and a two-run lead. Reyes wasn’t injured and had thrown 56 pitches. I guess Cox was just tired of seeing him out there. Even more curious was the choice of his replacement, Buddy Carlyle, who came into the game with a 1.80 WHIP. Why would you bring into a bases-loaded situation, a reliever who allows almost two baserunners an inning? As it was, Tatis sent Carlyle’s second pitch into dead center, just barely clearing the wall. Even the homerun apple was stunned by the series of decisions, as it stayed parked underneath and didn’t pop out to celebrate the grand salami.
Tatis was red-hot in this game, with three hits. Reyes had three hits of his own and a walk. Gary Sheffield also blistered the ball a few times, with one of his rockets going over the left field wall for his second homer of the season.
Jonathan Niese started the game and looked good. Unfortunately, looking good and performing well did not go hand-in-hand. At times, he appeared to have the Braves off-balance, but in the end he couldn’t get his big curveball into the strike zone, and was inconsistent with his change-up, so the Braves were sitting on his fastball. I don’t doubt he’ll be a decent pitcher some day, but he has a long way to go toward honing his craft. He’ll be best served in AAA, learning to perfect his secondary pitches. No need to demolish his confidence in MLB once Tim Redding comes off the DL.
Chipper Jones was intentionally walked twice, but that didn’t stop the man behind him — Garret Anderson — from driving in three runs on three hits and a sac fly.
J.J. Putz struck out two in the eighth, but also gave up two doubles and the tying run. Despite his claim that he’s been feeling “fatigued”, Jerry Manuel said on WFAN yesterday that Putz is “fine” and that “no one is being overused”. Perhaps Putz’s fatigue is due to an airborne illness or something else completely unrelated to his game participation.
Next Mets Game
The Mets begin a long West Coast swing tomorrow night in San Francisco. John Maine goes against Jonathan Sanchez in a 10:15 PM EST start.