Mets Game 18: Win Over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 1

Suddenly, things are looking up.

The Mets beat the Braves for the second consecutive time and simultaneously won their second straight series on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Flushing.

Game Notes

Jon Niese pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and 5 walks, striking out 6 and expending 116 pitches. Considering that the SNY crew labeled his previous start as “outstanding”, I guess this one would qualify as “spectacular”. If he does any better, I guess we’ll have to call it “legendary”. Maybe I’m getting old and ornery, but in my day, such superlatives were reserved for, well, more superb performances.

Jason Bay is clearly out of his slump — he went 3-for-4 with a double and a sac fly for an RBI. Bay’s 3 hits accounted for more than half of the Mets’ total for the game (5).

Jeff Francoeur lashed an RBI double for the game-winning hit in the 7th, and had a key assist earlier in the game to end an Atlanta rally.

Yunel Escobar was the dunce that allowed Francoeur to get that assist. Standing on third with one out, Escobar did not tag up on a deep fly to right by Troy Glaus. However, the man on second — Martin Prado — did tag, and got caught in a rundown between second and third while Escobar scrambled back to 3B and tried to score. It wasn’t even close.

Bobby Cox will definitely be retiring after this season — maybe before the All-Star Break — if the Braves continue to display such awful fundamentals. I would not be surprised to see Escobar benched on Sunday, though he’s not the only culprit. Overall, the Braves are nowhere near the rock-solid executioners they were in their heyday, which must drive Cox crazy but also severely damage his pride.

Larry Jones was not chipper on his (and Pat Zachry’s) birthday — he struck out looking twice on back-door curveballs from Niese and left the ballgame with a sore hip. Glass Jones’ sporadic availability combined with the Braves’ poor execution will be Atlanta’s downfall in 2010.

Henry Blanco drove in the insurance run in the seventh with a short fly ball to left, but more importantly, he stole a base — his first since little league. OK, I’m exaggerating … Blanco last recorded a stolen base in 2001. Seriously.

Former Brave Manny Acosta threw 1 2/3 innings of nearly perfect relief, striking out 3 and walking one. I’ve decided he’s the 2010 version of Jorge Sosa: a slider machine who can also throw a fairly hard and straight fastball, and will do well over a short span of time. That said, I’m OK with Jerry Manuel running him out there until the hitters figure him out.

Speaking of the Smartest Manager in Baseball, Jerry Manuel won his second consecutive game using the brilliant strategy of Jose Reyes in the 3-hole. You can’t argue with success, so don’t even try. I especially like the idea of batting Alex Cora second, so that Reyes has the opportunity to hit without the distraction of a runner on base — it’s kind of like he’s always leading off.

Jose Reyes, by the way, went 0-for-2 with 2 walks, a run scored, and a stolen base in the three spot.

David Wright looks terrible at the plate. He seems to be using a different stance every time up, and he’s taking huge swings at the ball. Usually when Wright is in a slump, he’s still around .280-.290. He’s currently hovering at .230. Color me concerned.

With this win, the Mets have sent the Braves to the basement and are now tied for third place with the Washington Nationals. If that’s not reason to believe I don’t know what is.

Next Mets Game

The final game of the series — which at this point is moot — will be played at 8:05 PM on Sunday night. Mike Pelfrey faces Tommy Hanson in what could be a very interesting matchup. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. sincekindergarten April 25, 2010 at 7:45 am
    I think Bobby Cox aged seven years on the boneheaded tag-up play. The two curveballs that (Not) Chipper struck out on were pretty good, considering that Niese has been throwing the cutter/slider a lot lately (and Chipper was probably looking for that pitch). And, maybe Jason Bay is out of his funk. He seems to be seing more fastballs, seeing that Reyes has been on base a fair amount in the last two games.
  2. Mark April 25, 2010 at 11:34 am
    Reyes also looked really good in the field. He made a couple of strong plays, including in the eighth off of McCann. He is starting to look like the Reyes of old.

    I know I keep harping on this one, but will someone explain to me what the Mets are thinking by keeping Carter down in AAA when their LH hitters off of the bench (FC and GMJ) are doing absolutely nothing? I think that its worth giving him an opportunity to see what he can do at the major league level as a pinch hitter and, perhaps, occasional starter.

    And yes, I cannot believe that a Bobby Cox coached team could have made so many fundamental mistakes in two games. He must be tearing his hair out.

  3. Chris Pizz April 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm
    It’s really refreshing to be excited to watch the team play again. I am a pretty optimistic guy and a die hard Mets fan, however I am not delusional. I know they aren’t a power house team by any means, but they are again fun to watch. I’m less hesitant to watch the games with braves fans or marlins fans as I am no longer convinced that I will be ridiculed for 8 and a half innings of the Mets booting the ball everywhere and sleeping at the plate. We are playing decent baseball and have a new energy that is bordering on contagious. Let’s keep this up fellas, LETS GO METS!!!
  4. Mike April 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm
    It is just nice to see other teams losing games against the Mets instead of the Mets always beating themselves. I wouldn’t say they are playing sound fundamental baseball but they are playing pretty well and not making too many mistakes while capitalizing on other team’s mistakes. It is nice to see.

    Wright is good enough to find his way out of this, but I hate that he, again, is tinkering with his swing. I don’t know why he thinks it is his swing that is the problem when his approach is awful. Maybe the approach is a confidence thing, but how can he get confident when he is changing things all the time? David please just go back to your 2007 mechanics, stop trying to be a hitter you are not (ie hitting homeruns), and get back to that great approach that made you a star.

  5. Nick April 25, 2010 at 7:40 pm
    Sometimes.. You just feel like sticking your head out the window.. And screaming at the top of your lungs!!
    anybody remember that from old Shea?