By: Paul DiSclafani
Experts say that baseball is the most self-correcting sport there is and you never stay hot forever. Nobody hits .500 and nobody wins every game. Submitted for your approval, the New York Mets.
After a sizzling August that saw them catch and pass the Washington Nationals, the Mets (85-67) came into September and put together a 8-game win streak, only to finish this 9-game home stand 3-6, their first losing home stand of the year. Playing uninspired baseball again, the Mets fall to the Braves 6-3 in the rubber game, following a disturbing pattern of the other two series – win the first game, get smacked around in the other two.
However, thanks to the equally uninspiring Nationals, who lost to the Orioles again tonight, the Mets retain their 6.5 game lead in the NL East and reduce their Magic Number to clinch the Division to 5 (David Wright).
Once again, the Mets scored early but failed to add to their lead and put away the opponent. Daniel Murphy cracked a home run in the first inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead and Reuben Tejada drove in Lucas Duda, who had doubled, in the second for a 2-0 lead. But in the third, Yoenis Cespedes tripled with two outs, but was stranded by Duda. In the fourth, they had runners on first and second with one out, but Bartolo Colon failed to sacrifice and instead hit into a 2-5-4 double play.
And with the way Colon (ND) was pitching, things were still looking pretty good. Colon, making a bid to be on the playoff roster, got the first 14 Braves he faced before Jace Peterson squeaked an infield single past him.
In the seventh, it all unraveled for Colon in just six pitches. The Braves loaded the bases with three singles and that was all for Colon. Addison Reed came in and Michael Bourn singled on a 3-2 pitch to make it 2-1. Freddie Freeman then pinch hit for the pitcher Williams Perez and crushed a 2-run double to right and the Braves had the lead, 3-2. That closed the books on Colon and charged him with 3 runs in 6.1 innings.
The Mets got even in their half of the seventh on the speed of Eric Young Jr. Tejada led off the inning with a single and was replaced by Young on the base paths. After Michael Cuddyer struck out on three pitches, Young stole second. Curtis Granderson flied out for the second out, but David Wright cracked a two-out single to center to tie the game. 3-3.
In the ninth, Jeurys Familia (L, 2-2) got the first out, but Cameron Maybin reached on an infield single before Familia walked Bourn on four pitches. Up came Freeman again, and he launched a long 3-run home run to deep left center, giving the Braves a 6-3 win and a series win. Freeman drove in five runs off the bench in two plate appearances.
With just 10 games left in the regular season, the Mets pack their bags for the last road trip of the regular season, where they will try to clinch their first postseason berth since 2006. Mets play four in Cincinnati and three in Philadelphia before returning home for a final 3-game series against the Nationals. Rookie Steven Matz(4-0) starts on Thursday against the Reds, the team he beat in his first major league appearance. Nobody wants to see the Mets come home without that NL East Crown.
POSITIVES: Former Yankee Nick Swisher hand wrote the number “8” on his hat in tribute to Yankee great Yogi Berra … Cespedes had another 3B, his third as a Met (6 for the year) … Murphy’s home run was his 13th, tying his career high in 2013 … Tyler Clippard had a nice bounce back game, 1 inning, 0H … Mets had 10 hits
NEGATIVES: Reed has not allowed an earned run since being acquired from the Diamondbacks, but he has allowed all five of his inherited runners to score … Colon, with 14 wins, was looking for his 15th win for a 3rd straight season in his 40’s. He will have one more start … Familia had not given up a home run since July 30 … Mets have lost 6 of 8 since their 8-game winning streak