The Braves beat the Mets by the score of 9-4 in the conclusion of a rain-shortened two-game series at Turner Field. Jon Niese struggled from the very beginning of the game, going just 4 innings and allowing 7 earned runs on 7 hits. Niese was betrayed by his defense, as the Mets turned in a very sloppy game in the field. The Braves opened the scoring in the bottom of the third, when Justin Upton singled in Andrelton Simmons. After that, Niese became unraveled in the inning, as Freddie Freeman hit a drive to left that Lucas Duda misjudged, and when it went over Duda’s head, the Braves had two more runs for a 3-0 lead. With Dan Uggla at the plate, Niese uncorked a wild pitch, that perhaps should have been caught by John Buck. With the Braves now leading 4-0, Reed Johnson drove in Uggla with a single, and the Braves had a 5-0 lead after 3.
Jeurys Familia replaced Niese in the bottom of the fifth, after Niese loaded the bases with no one out. Reed Johnson greeted Familia with a single that scored two, and Freddie Freeman later added a solo home run off of Familia for Atlanta’s eighth run. The Mets’ offense came courtesy of David Wright, who clubbed a two-run home run in the fourth off of winner Tim Hudson. At the time, Wright’s long ball cut Atlanta’s lead to 5-2, but Niese and Familia could not hold it there. Lucas Duda later added an RBI single, and Justin Turner drew a bases-loaded walk to add another run. Marlon Byrd struck out with the bases loaded to end a potential rally in the eighth.
- David Wright continues to do everything that the Mets could ask of him. Although he mis-played a ball today (it was scored a hit), Wright is absolutely delivering on his contract extension. He extended Friday night’s game, giving the Mets the opportunity to win, and he kept them in today’s game temporarily.
- Jeurys Familia is continuing to develop nicely. After saving Friday night’s game, he did a fine job today. He inherited a bases-loaded, no-out situation and allowed 2 runners to score. But the hit was a seeing-eye single through the left side, and he shut the inning down from there. Familia is well-suited to his relief role, much more so than as a starter.
- Terry Collins seemed upset with his team today, and for good reason. The team is capable of better baseball than it showed today.
- The Mets take their chances every day by putting Duda in the outfield. As Gary Cohen said, Duda’s defense had not really bitten the Mets until today. But in today’s game, the bite was deep. If Duda hadn’t misjudged Freeman’s drive, Niese may have navigated out of the inning and the results of today’s game may have been different. Duda’s OBP is commendable, but he isn’t producing enough runs to justify the type of defense we saw today.
- Jon Niese has not been “ace-like” since opening day. The Mets were beginning to generate some momentum after two stirring wins, and needed a better effort out of Niese today.
- The Mets defense was bad today. On a team that struggles for runs and doesn’t strike out a lot of people, the defense has to be good for them to have opportunities to win.