Game Recap: Johan Santana Struggles as Mets Get Swept Out of Atlanta
The Mets came back to Turner Field this afternoon hoping to avoid the sweep before their off day tomorrow as they wait for their crucial series against the Nationals to start. As they have done all year, Terry Collins and co. turn to Johan Santana to be the stopper they so desperately needed. He was opposing Ben Sheets, making his first start in the MLB in just about two years, and out-pitched his counterpart, with some help from CB Bucknor in the fifth inning.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
Despite only putting together two hits against Sheets this afternoon, the Mets did have a couple of chances to break the scoreless tie before Atlanta did, with their biggest chance coming in the top of the third. Josh Thole led off the inning with a single, and with two outs, Daniel Murphy missed a two-run homer by inches, but produced a double, putting runners on second and third for David Wright. He was 4-for-his-last-4 with runners in scoring position and two outs, but he flew out to Jason Heyward on the warning track to end the inning. The offense was silent until Sheets made his exit, as Scott Hairston doubled to left field and eventually came around to score on a single by Andres Torres.
Braves Offensive Highlights:
Through four innings, Johan Santana was controlling the Atlanta lineup nicely. However, once Matt Diaz doubled to lead off the fifth inning, all hell broke loose. New acquisition Paul Janish walked behind Diaz, who came around to score on a Michael Bourn double. Matin Prado added a run on a sacrifice fly to right field and Jayson Heyward didn’t leave Bourn stranded, as he singled him home. Chipper Jones also singled up the middle, and Freddie Freeman put an exclamation point on the inning with a towering three-run homer to right field, pushing the lead to 6-0, effectively ending Santana’s afternoon with 95 pitches through five innings.
Ben Sheets enjoyed a terrific outing in his first start in the Majors in about two years, as he threw six shutout innings of two-hit ball, walking only one hitter and striking out five. Kyle Medlen relieved Sheets with 1.2 innings and got touched up for a run on three hits and a walk. Eric O’Flaherty was able to bail out Medlen in the eighth, and Anthony Varvaro closed the door, securing the sweep for the Braves.
For the second start in a row, the fifth inning proved to be the problem spot for Johan Santana, as he only lasted five innings, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 3 hitters. Johan’s ERA has been increasing steadily over his last two starts, now sitting at 3.59 on the year. Ramon Ramirez walked two in his two innings of work, but didn’t allow a hit. Miguel Batista followed Ramirez with a hitless inning of his own.
A team that is built upon timely hitting and strong starting pitching, the Mets have now seen three starters in a row (Chris Young, R.A. Dickey, and Santana) give up at least five runs in each of the team’s last three games. That’s going to have to change if the Amazins want to stay in the playoff hunt. Torres was the only Met enjoy a multi-hit game this afternoon, and David Wright was the only player to get on base via the walk, which he did twice. New York has been playing the Braves at Turner Field since 1997 and have seen themselves go 44-87 in that span. Needless to say, they don’t like traveling to Atlanta.
Dating back to before the All-Star break, the Mets have lost four games in a row, and will look to get back on track on Tuesday. It will be tough against the first-place Nationals, as they are now 6.5 games back of Washington with their 46-43 record.
Probable Pitchers Tuesday:
The Mets will have tomorrow off as they had to Washington to face the Nationals in a series that has become even more important to New York. Ross Detwiler (4-3, 3.43 ERA) will be heading to the hill in the Nation’s capital for Davey Johnson’s club. The Mets haven’t officially announced their starter as of this afternoon, but it will most likely be Jonathon Niese (7-4, 3.73 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.
In case you’re curious, Matt Harvey‘s audition in Buffalo will be televised on SNY tomorrow night…might want to check it out and see how he does.