Monday, May 16, 2022

The Mets fell in the sixth inning, the Braves lost 9-2 at the Citifield matinee

The day the Mets lost their highest-paid setup man Trevor May to the injured list, their matinee with the Braves fell apart in the sixth inning.

A combination of starter Tyler Megill and relievers Adam Ottavino and Trevor Williams turned a scoreless tie into a seven-run deficit, each pitch burying the Mets deeper and deeper. At the end of the day, they lost 9-2.

“We will win two tomorrow against a very good team, and move on to another good team in Philly,” Showalter said.

Megill ran for the first four innings, not allowing the Atlanta lineup a single hit that Buck Showalter called “the Hornet’s nest”. Four hitless innings, combined with Magill’s five hitless frames to end his last start, gave him a kind of spiritual no-hitter.

“It’s my job to go out there and not let them get hit,” Megill said. “It’s a good position, but at the end of the day, I’m just trying to pitch.”

However, he could not stop the hornet from stinging him.

In the fifth inning, Francisco Lindor made a fielding error before Adam Duvall landed the Braves’ first hit through the ground. Megil managed to avoid that mess, but he had other, devious plans in the sixth inning.

If not for instant replay, we could be talking about a very different game. Austin Riley was initially rejected over his single, but the almighty cameras in Manhattan found him safe. Instead of getting out second, Riley became the first of eight consecutive Atlanta hitters to reach base. The parade of hits included three straight singles (which loaded the bases and chased down Megil), an RBI walk for Otavino’s first assignment, and a backbreaking two-run double. Otavino also threw in a wild pitch that scored a run.

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“It all happened quickly,” said Otavino of the Braves’ attack.

Williams also played his first hitter, a recipe for disaster with Ronald Acuna waiting in the wings. The Acuna unloaded on Williams’ first-pitch slider for a line drive of 104 mph. The single scored Atlanta’s sixth of the day, which apparently had the added effect of temporarily forgetting the way the Mets played baseball.

Matt Olsson came forward and hit a grounder to Pete Alonso, who made a good play to come with the ball and tag first. The problem was that Alonso forgot about the third-place runner. By the time he checked the runner, he was already running home. Resigned to be dismissed on second, Alonso tries to pickle Acuna. The Braves’ outfielder is smart enough to fall for those moves, deflecting the Mets’ incursion quite easily.

At best, Alonso could have turned the ball into double play with the sprinter being thrown home. The next best option would have been a 3-6 double play with Lindor supplying the tag on Acuna for the second out. Instead, it became a fitting comic punctuation for the Mets’ worst innings of the season.

It is too lazy to say that May’s injury caused this convoy. But Ottavino became the first mate reliever to pitch three days in a row, and it was as bad as it could have been. While Ottavino was charged for only three of the runs he earned in the sixth-innings defeat (three went to Magill, the last one being Williams), the fact remained that the bullpen is under more severe stress than the day before, And Otavino did not set a single record.

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“It wasn’t,” said Ottavino when asked whether pitching for three days in a row could have caused his struggle. “He asked me before the game if I was good to go and I said yes. Walking, it’s unacceptable. I felt good. I love to pitch. I love to pitch. I have a good third day in a row.” The numbers are there. It’s unimportant to me.”

“We talk about it before every game,” Showalter said. “He’s the guy who had the least stress in his last two outings. You have to move the load around.”

Braves starter Ian Anderson was his typical, economical self. He went mostly unscathed through 5.1 innings, using only 84 pitches and allowing one run. On a micro level, Wednesday’s loss to the Mets is nothing more than one of the many stinkers that each team will have over the course of a season. But losing a piece of the relief corps has a cascading effect that makes everyone’s life a little harder.

The Mets start top of the class, but now their teammates in the bullpen threaten to bring down the collective GPA.

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Nation World News Desk
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