Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Game #124: Mets 5, Braves 3

Call it the momentum of the frequent flyer miles, but the Mets have momentum to start their tough homestand.

Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis each had long home runs and Zack Wheeler and the Mets withstood a Braves rally to win 5-3.

The Good Stuff:
  • Zack Wheeler picked up the 6th win of his major league career and was dominant for six innings before running into trouble in the 7th. His final line was still a quality start-worthy three runs on six hits in 6.2 frames, including three walks and five strikeouts on a hefty 114 pitches.
  • The biggest reason why Wheeler has Ws in half his starts and Matt Harvey has just nine in 25 is, for whatever reason, New York flat-out hits when Zack is on the mound. Tonight was no exception.
    • Ike Davis got the ball rolling with a hard groundball to right to score Eric Young in the 1st.
    • Young started another rally in the 6th as he and Daniel Murphy led off with back-to-back singles. On a double steal attempt by the two, Atlanta catcher Brian McCann through it into the outfield, allowing Young to scamper home to make it 2-0 (the steal of third was Young's second SB of the night, giving him 20 in his two months with the Mets; Young also had a Web-Gem worthy catch in the top of the 6th that robbed McCann of a double).
    • Later in the at-bat, Marlon Byrd launched his second rocket in as many days over the Great Wall of Flushing, prompting a "There it GOES!" from Howie Rose that was filled with a schoolboy's glee. It was Byrd's 21st of the year, establishing a new career-high for the Word.
    • If home runs were worth more based on how far they travel, Ike Davis's solo shot in the 8th should have been worth three runs or so. But he gladly took the one run on a home run that barely missed clearing the Pepsi Porch. Not reaching. Clearing.
  • Travis d'Arnaud finally notched his first career big league hit, a double to the gap in left center in the 8th inning. D'Arnaud's first hit came in his 10th at-bat, beating Willie Mays's mark by two ABs. (Author's note: could've sworn Willie took at least 20 ABs before hitting that homer off Warren Spahn; didn't it seem longer to you?)
The Bad Stuff:
  • Carlos Torres was ineffective in his brief relief appearance after Wheeler's exit, allowing all three inherited runners to score on Andrelton Simmons's bases-clearing double.
  •  ...Oh, is this another bullet point? I was just thinking about how many more wins Harvey would have if he was blessed with Wheeler's run support is all...
Final Analysis:
Other people will talk about Zack Wheeler's impressive development, Marlon Byrd's comeback for the ages, and Ike Davis's moonshot that everyone prays will be the one to wake his power up. I'm going to focus on the sparkplug that is EY Jr. Eric Young has a driving force behind the Mets' Nieu Year turnaround, and tonight we were reminded why: he steals an XBH from McCann on a Juan Lagares-esque diving catch, then gets on base to lead off the bottom of the inning, flashes some speed on the basepaths, and all of a sudden New York has three more runs on the board. Some people are talking about which outfielders the Mets will go after in the offseason, but I think Sandy Alderson would have to be nuts not to pencil in Forever Young as his leadoff man in 2014 (whether he plays left field or second base is still up in the air).

In a year when the Atlanta Braves have absolutely run away with the NL East, the Mets have played them surprisingly well: tonight's win gives them an 8-7 record against the division leaders in 2013. That'll do.


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