Going into Monday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves, the New York Mets were 40 games under .500 all-time at Turner Field. Tonight’s game was a prime example of why. However, things could be worse.
Jeurys Familia has been one of the most reliable pitchers in the Mets’ bullpen this season, but Familia received his Turner Field christening courtesy of the longtime Met foes on this day. With his team leading 3-1 in the eighth inning, Familia committed a throwing error on what should have been an easy double play to get him out of trouble.
The floodgates opened as center-fielder Juan Lagares and third baseman Eric Campbell both joined the eighth-inning error party. By the end of the inning, the Mets had committed three errors and allowed four runs (two unearned) as the Braves batted around in the inning. With the Braves’ lights-out bullpen, the rest was history as the work in progress Mets allowed themselves to be further buried by the first-place Braves.
As bad as things seems for the Mets now, the future still looks bright. As silly as it sounds, the fact that the Mets are fading away in the division race at least means that Sandy Alderson and company won’t be blinded by false contention and make a foolish move like Jim Duquette did in a similar scenario in 2004.
Additionally, Zach Wheeler had a bounce-back performance from his horrendous start last time around. Wheeler was well-rested after lasting only two innings and 48 pitches in his previous start. On this night, he clearly did not have his A-game. Despite not having it, Wheeler worked through his struggles and lasted 6.1 innings allowing only one earned run.
It was not exactly a sexy outing, but it was definitely an impressive start and proof of his growth as a major-league pitcher.
The Mets proved on Monday that Turner Field is still in their heads, but perhaps the next generation can one day overcome these past demons.