Takeaways from the Mets 5-1 win over the Braves on Friday…
The Mets defeated the Braves by the score of 5-1 on Friday night at Turner Field in Atlanta. Here are my takeaways from the win…
Not a tasty peach.
The Mets have made it look easy so many times over the last six weeks, it’s rare the Mets have had to battle their way through a game. But on Friday, that’s what happened.
Their offense staggered against Matt Wisler thanks to an erratic strike zone and some misfiring in run scoring opportunities, specifically David Wright who popped up with a runner at third with less than two outs in the third inning, and fanned with Daniel Murphy at third with less than two outs in the fifth inning.
But they were also victimized by some stellar defense by the Braves. Michael Bourn made a phenomenal play on a flyball at the centerfield wall to rob Michael Conforto of at least two bases, then Daniel Castro made a great diving stop to rob Ruben Tejada of a single on the very next play.
It happens, and fortunately the Mets navigated around their own misfires at the plate thanks to a balk by Wisler in the fifth inning and a passed ball in the eighth inning to score two of their runs which helped.
Of course, then there is Yoenis Cespedes, who put this game to bed with another light show in the ninth inning thanks to another monumental home run to plate two.
In a way, they’ve spoiled the audience with their seamless wins over the last six weeks. It can’t and won’t be that easy every night. The most encouraging part about their performance was they survived a shaky all-around game – be it on the mound or at the plate with their situational hitting (again, until the ninth inning) – and still found a way to win the ballgame.
That trait is the mark of a good team, and the Mets have proven they are indeed a good team.
A messy Matz.
This was not an easy night for Steven Matz by any means. He had good velocity and a lot of late life on his fastball, but his command was erratic and he struggled to work around an inconsistent strike zone from home plate umpire Todd Tichenor.
He labored, working in and out of trouble all night long, and nearly fell through the thin ice he was walking on throughout the first four innings of work. He finally got burned when he allowed a fifth inning home run to Daniel Castro, the first of his career.
He was also telegraphic his breaking pitches quite a bit. He slowed his arm down on a couple of curveballs and change-ups early on in this game. Fortunately, he got away with those pitches, but that won’t play against a better club later in the year.
Remember, he’s still learning, adjusting, and trying to figure out this level. All-in-all, his ability to battle and sift through this game was a sign of his pitching maturity. He stuck to the game plan, didn’t try to power his way out of trouble, and used his defense when he needed to in order to get out of jams. A lot is being asked of Matz, as he’s going to play a big role in October should the Mets qualify for the playoffs.
In a way, it’s good for him to get these learning experiences out of the way now, rather than a do-or-die situation down the line.
Solid bullpen, again.
Terry Collins asked his bullpen for 12 outs on Friday night, and 12 outs he got. And he is starting to develop a winning formula even when the starter can’t go deep into a ballgame.
Erik Goeddel, Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia combined for four innings of shutdown relief for Matz and held their thinly-sliced lead to secure another win on this road trip.
It seems to be the beginning of an all-important positive trend for this bullpen, which really struggled through last Sunday in Miami but has turned a corner over their last five games. They’ve only allowed one run in their last 15 2/3 innings, which is significant when all of those previous struggles were considered, particularly in the seventh inning of their games.
Other notes from Friday:
Cespedes has reached base in nine straight games and is hitting .413 with seven home runs, four doubles and 16 RBI in that span. He now has 100 RBI in 2015. His 39 RBI since joining the Mets for their game on August 1 are the most in the National League during the span.
Curtis Granderson reached base three times thanks to a single and two walks on Friday. He’s drawn 11 walks in his last seven games.
Reed has not allowed an earned run in seven appearances since joining the Mets.
The Mets improved to 24-23 in one-run games, and are 24-11 on the road since July 1 to improve to 35-37 away from Citi Field in 2015.
The Mets have scored three or more runs in their last 25 road games, extending a franchise record – they are 19-6 in those games.
The Mets won their 80th game on Friday, their highest win total since winning 89 games in 2008.