Braves 9 Mets 2
Time to wave the white flag … where is General Sherman when you need him?
Jonathon Niese gave up 8 runs on 10 hits and 2 walks in 4 2/3 innings, but only three of the runs were earned thanks to a botched grounder by Luis Castillo — that would’ve been an inning-ending DP. Even though the error opened up the floodgates, Niese likely was going to lose this game anyway, as he had much less than his best stuff and labored nearly every inning (not to mention it was the Mets offense supporting him). Niese threw a handful of decent sliders but didn’t have full command of the pitch, had trouble spotting the fastball, and his curveball was inconsistent, either hanging or not breaking at all, only occasionally getting the good bite needed to get swings and misses / jellied knees. On a positive note, he worked his way out of trouble several times — if we’ve learned one thing from Niese it is that he is a competitor. However all the battles led to a soaring pitch count, and, when given enough chances, the opposition is likely to eventually take advantage. Case in point: weak-hitting David Ross blasted a grand-slam on Niese’s 41st pitch of the fifth frame.
While we’re on the subject, a pitcher simply shouldn’t be out there for that long, at any level — and that’s coming from someone who is a stauch opponent of pitch counts. Pushing a pitcher far beyond 30 pitches in one inning is asking for injury.
Speaking of grand slams, Ross’ granny was the Braves’ 10th of the year. In contrast, the Mets scored two runs with the bases loaded, both on sac flies, and are hitting .194 with a .477 OPS as a team in that situation — worst in MLB by far. In contrast, the Yankees are hitting .400 / 1.106 with the bases juiced; the next-worst teams after the Mets are the Rockies, who are .210 / .620, and the Mariners at .214 / .584.
For some reason, seeing Derrek Lee in a Braves uniform reminds me of Fred McGriff in his Atlanta years; Lee to me is like a rightanded-hitting Crime Dog.
Mets are now 12 games behind the Braves, and they officially stink. Ten Tug McGraws couldn’t make me — nor this team — believe.
Next Mets Game
Game three happens at 7:10 PM in Atlanta. Mike Pelfrey pitches against Tommy Hanson.