Looking Back At Atlanta Braves’ 5-Game Series vs. New York Mets
The Atlanta Braves
When the Atlanta Braves began a five-game series with the New York Mets on Monday in Atlanta, they knew they would deal with some adversity, including Tuesday's doubleheader, which would be difficult enough on its own, but became even harder because of the fact that they were facing a pair of young starting pitchers who could give the Mets one of the elite rotations in the MLB in a few years.
In the end, the Braves faced some things they could not have foreseen, as a near four-hour rain delay caused Monday's game to stretch into the wee hours of Tuesday morning and deplete the club's energy for the ensuing two games.
They also lost rookie catching sensation Evan Gattis, who has been one of their best hitters over the first few months of the season, to an oblique injury that will keep him out until at least the beginning of July.
Second baseman Dan Uggla continued his struggles as well, striking out six times in the first four games of the series -- including a three-K performance on Wednesday -- before sitting out Thursday's game due to lingering vision problems that will force him to start wearing contacts and possibly undergo a LASIK procedure in the future.
After winning the opening game of the five-game set in exciting fashion, Atlanta was swept in the doubleheader thanks to two dynamite pitching performances. The Braves bounced back to take the fourth game, but went down in the series finale, resulting in their first series defeat at Turner Field since the latter portion of last year.
Here is my look at the Braves' five-game series with the Mets.
In Monday's series opener, the Braves were shut out by New York starter Dillon Gee for eight innings and trailed 1-0 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Following a one-out single by left fielder Justin Upton, first baseman Freddie Freeman blasted one over the right field fence for a walk-off two-run home run, giving Atlanta a 2-1 victory.
The Braves were extremely lucky to win this game, as a marathon rain delay and just three hits over the first eight frames were erased thanks to Freeman's big fly. It was the second consecutive three-hit game for the team's leading hitter and his second walk-off in three games.
In the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, the Braves met up with Mets ace Matt Harvey, a rookie who has taken the National League by storm. What resulted was a 4-3 loss in which the 24-year-old hurler tossed seven innings of three-run, three-hit ball while striking out a career-high 13 batters.
The Braves' offense was quiet through the beginning part of the game once again, as Harvey carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning. The NL's leading comeback team -- with 21 comeback wins on the season -- made a late run, but fell one run short after leaving runners at second and third base in the bottom of the eighth.
Game 3 - The nightcap of Tuesday's twin bill saw heralded Mets starter Zach Wheeler make his major league debut. While Braves starter Paul Maholm was sharp at the beginning, he faded down the stretch and was ultimately outpitched by the 23-year-old, who picked up the win in a 6-1 Mets victory.
Wheeler really had an issue with command, which was always a problem for him in the minors, but the Braves were unable to make him pay for his five bases-on-balls, as he held them scoreless for six innings, with the bullpen picking up where he left off.
Atlanta evened the series at two games apiece thanks to Wednesday's 5-3 triumph in which third baseman Chris Johnson cracked a three-run homer and starter Kris Medlen won his third game in four June starts. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched seven innings of three-run (one earned), six-hit ball, striking out seven and issuing no walks.
The Braves continued their success in games in which they hit a homer, with Johnson going deep for the first time in a while as they took an early 3-0 lead. While New York battled back to tie things at three-all, Atlanta was able to score a few more times in the late innings and earn a two-run victory.
Although the Braves jumped out to an early lead in Thursday's rubber game, starter Mike Minor was unable to hold New York at bay as he allowed four runs on nine hits -- including three solo homers -- in six innings. Atlanta also left 11 runners on base in what turned out to be a 4-3 defeat.
Unlike Medlen the previous day, Minor didn't settle down when the Mets made their run, as he allowed his 10th, 11th and 12th homers of the season in just his third defeat. Long balls have been a problem for the left-hander as of late, and Thursday was no different.